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MARCH 2020 ISSUE NO. 1906

Africa’s female tech stars




CELEBRATING WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH New statue to honour nurses

Why are we less likely to

Exclusive Voice interview: Paula Groves, the

CORONAVIRUS: WHY AFRICA ISN’T READY Determined health campaigner Niniola Williams is helping to lead the the killer virus - SEE Page 4



News, views, stories & videos

Spotlight Nichole McGill-Higgins

Bob Marley musical in the works

Meet the barrister turned fashion designer p8 Zita Holbourne’s fight to stop a deportation flight p11 British Library gets Windrush writer’s archive p26

Hackney special feature p33

The woman helping others to handle hair loss p45 The dark side of entertainment revealed p58 Anthony Joshua on his next move p68

THE WORLD premiere of a brand-new musical which tells the remarkable story of iconic artist Bob Marley will open at the newly refurbished Lyric Theatre in London’s West End next year. Previews begin on February 6, 2021, on what would have been Marley’s 76th birthday. Get Up, Stand Up! The Bob Marley Story takes inspiration from Marley’s visionary lyrics to tell his extraordinary personal story, and featuring an electrifying mix of his hits played live.

‘Different rules for race’ – Corbyn DURING A heated Commons exchange, outgoing Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn attacked Boris Johnson, suggesting that the government is applying different rules to black and white people. Corbyn used Prime Minister’s Questions to confront the PM over the controversial deportation of ex-offenders to Jamaica. He added that the government had “learned absolutely nothing from the Windrush Scandal”.

THE 10 MOST POPULAR STORIES ON VOICE-ONLINE.CO.UK 1. Relationships cause mental health problems for black people 2. Boris Johnson adviser who said that black people were less intelligent than white people resigns 3. Young entrepreneur launches range of healthy food in Asda 4. Anita Baker heads to UK for one last time 5. Serena and Venus Williams’ father is 6. Dotun Adebayo lands new BBC show 7. despite court battle 8. Best of Zimbabwe celebrates 9. Will Jamaican ’baller land new club? 10. Birmingham’s black community expected to turn out for funeral of Jolly Bailey

NICHOLE McGILL-HIGGINS has earned a strong reputation as a Volunteering and Systems Officer with the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development (CIPD), the professional body for human resources professionals. Prior to joining the CIPD she worked across a range of sectors including insurance and the NHS, where she managed several multi-cultural teams. But she has also won plaudits for the work she has done to encourage and support others. She is co-chair of the CIPD’s EmbRACE group, launched in June 2018 to encourage conversations about race and promote the creation of a healthy working environment for all people. McGill-Higgins has been a popular mentor for jobseekers. She volunteers with the CIPD’s Steps Ahead programme, which provides people from diverse backgrounds looking for work with one-to-one mentoring. Her efforts were recognised when last year McGill-Higgins was crowned National Mentor of the Year at the UK’s first National Mentoring Awards in London. For McGill-Higgins, mentoring others is clearly a labour of love. “My involvement as a Steps Ahead volunteer has definitely assisted in building my own confidence, especially when it comes to public speaking and delivering presentations,” she says. “I also feel that my experience as a mentor has made me a better person. It has allowed me to meet and help people from all walks of life, regardless of their age, race, gender, education or employment.”

Got a story? email us at yourviews@gvmedia.co.uk NEWSPAPER

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New project makes sure a major scandal in British history isn’t forgotten amazing about the story of migration. “We took on this project as we are committed to elevating the voices of all participants, recognising that no individual’s journey is more valid than any others.”

By Vic Motune


SPECIAL WINDRUSH project has been launched with the aim of teaching young people in London the story of those who migrated to Britain from the Caribbean in the 1950s and 60s. The Our Memories project was inspired by the Windrush scandal, which saw thousands of migrants from the Caribbean wrongly detained, denied legal rights and threatened with deportation. The situation arose as a result of the government’s ‘hostile environment’ policies aimed at getting tough on illegal immigrants.


The project was launched jointly by the charity Voyage (Voice Of Youth And Genuine Empowerment), the African Caribbean Leadership Company (ACLC) and the Black Cultural Archives in Lambeth. The project involved 12 elders and 15 young people who took part in active learning about the Windrush Genera-


PERENNIAL STORY: Sarah Ebanja, Paul Anderson, chief executive of Voyage, and Dr Leroy Logan at the book’s launch. Inset above right, James Greenaway, 94, poses with a copy of the Windrush Elders: Our Memories book that uses his photograph on the cover tion. It started with a series of workshops facilitated by the Black Cultural Archives (BCA), teaching young people about the relevance, individual journeys, experience and history of the Windrush Generation. The BCA also organised a walk-about in Brixton, tracing

ACTIVE LEARNING: Project volunteers Rueben Johnson and Habiba Obikoya with Paul Anderson

the huge social, economic and cultural contributions made by African and Caribbean communities in London. This was then followed by a series of presentations and workshops ensuring the young participants had a genuine appreciation of the great journeys, sacrifices and achievements of Windrush Generation members. Once the young participants in the project had a fuller understanding of the history of the Windrush Generation context, five of them participated in training, ensuring they would be equipped to conduct interviews with the elders. They learned key skills, such as data collation skills, as well as developing emotional intelligence, especially important when working with people recounting harrowing stories.

Supported by a project manager, four of the young people were invited to attend Lunch Club sessions at the ACLC to conduct a series of oral history interviews. The interviews have resulted in the production of a book called Windrush Elders: Our Memories which was handed to the 12 Windrush Generation contributors at the ACLC on Wednesday, December 18. A spokesperson for the project told The Voice: “The elders were so amazed to read their stories and see themselves presented as proud pioneers who laid the foundations for a multi-racial Haringey. “In response to the scandal, we at Voyage wanted to use the project to provide the unheard with a unique opportunity to recount their stories and teach our young people something

Paul Anderson MBE, chief executive of Voyage, said: “We salute and love our elders and we can’t thank them enough for what they had to endure to make our lives that bit safer, more prosperous and more integrated.” Arike Oke, managing director of BCA, added: “Passing on our stories from generation to generation means more than just sharing experiences – it’s also about building those links of understanding, empathy and pride. Projects like this help us to ensure that the Windrush Generation and their part of our history is never forgotten.” One of the young participants, Rhoda, 15, said it had been “truly amazing to under-

stand their stories. They had to be so strong”. Local councillor Mark Blake said: “Haringey Council welcomes this fantastic intergenerational project that highlights the struggles and invaluable contribution of the Windrush generation to this country and our borough. “This is a perennial story that resonates across the diverse communities of Haringey.” Former chair of the Met Police Black Police Association, Leroy Logan MBE, added: “This project is an opportunity for the current generation to learn from the Windrush Generation about how they survived the hostile environment. We hope the young people learn about what it takes to build a country whilst strengthening their families and their communities. “I remain hopeful this generation will continue to build on this legacy and develop the resilience to address the injustices and inequalities our elders faced to ensure they are never repeated.”

ELEVATING VOICES: Mary Earl, in pink, and her guest at the combined book and Christmas celebration




Health experts hope to prevent coronavirus reaching continent amid fears that fragile health systems wouldn’t be able cope with deadly infection By Vic Motune


NE OF Nigeria’s leading public health campaigners has told The Voice that Africa’s leaders have to do more to prevent the possibility of the coronavirus rapidly spreading on the continent. In recent years Niniola Williams, managing director of the DRASA Health Trust charity, has won a reputation as a trusted health expert in Nigeria and across Africa for the work that she and colleagues have done to prevent the spread of Ebola.


However, speaking to The Voice, Williams said that even though governments and health professionals had learned lessons after the recent outbreak of the Ebola virus, Africa was still unprepared for the potentially devastating impact of coronavirus – known as Covid-19 – in the likely event that it will arrive there. There have been confirmed cases of the virus in 30 countries around the world, with an estimated 77,000 infections. Covid-19, which originated in the city of Wuhan in China, has resulted in the deaths of an estimated 2,500 people in the country. Numbers continue to rise. At the time of going to print, there were no confirmed cases in Africa. However, according to Williams, the continent is the least equipped among the world’s

regions to deal with a possible epidemic. She said: “It’s a massive concern. It’s a shame because those of us in West Africa who lived through the Ebola crisis feel we have improved. We’re better than where we were but there is still a long way to go. “There’s still a lot that we need to do and it’s a shame that we haven’t put those things in place. “We don’t have the infrastructure that we need, health systems are weak, we don’t have the funding in place that would help prevent the spread of disease.” Williams said that one important factor adding to the lack of resources were cultural issues, found in Nigeria but common across the continent. “A lot of people don’t trust modern medicine, they don’t go to the hospitals, they go to their local traditional healers who will give them some concoctions or drinks, and say some incantations and prayers,” she explained. “And why would they trust doctors? They go to their local healthcare facility and often there’s no doctor available, or there are no medical supplies. You tell them you’re sick and they’ll tell you ‘go and buy gloves, go and buy this, go and buy that’ before they can attend to you. So why wouldn’t you just go to your local healer who will tell you that if you just bury a feather and pour some blood you’ll be healed? “It’s a concern for the African continent because we have all

CAMPAIGN: A key part of Williams’ efforts has been her infection, prevention and control programme

these various factors that play into the spread of disease and can really make coronavirus blow up should it come here. But we’re just praying that it doesn’t and we’re trying to prepare for it if it does. “We saw that during Ebola across west Africa, this was what fuelled the outbreak and made it so much worse.” Williams’ concerns echo those of other health experts and commentators who are bracing themselves for the worst should coronavirus arrive in Africa. One factor they point to is that over the past decade China has invested time and resources into strengthening its economic relationship with the continent, a fact that has seen the number of flights between the two dramatically increase by 600 per cent.

POTENTIAL THREAT: Lack of infrastructure, funding and trusted health systems could see coronavirus spread quickly if it arrived in Africa, says Niniola Williams; inset below, the recent Ebola outbreak hasn’t left people prepared


Thirteen nations, including Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, are seen as especially at risk and have been identified by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as priority zones for containing the spread of the virus, in part due to the high volumes of travel between them and China. While the WHO declared coronavirus a public health emergency, it hasn’t recommended restrictions on trade with or travel to and from China. However, the WHO has also expressed concern that a widespread outbreak would overwhelm fragile African health systems. At least 20 nations have already issued alerts of possible cases. Amadou Sall, a director at Institut Pasteur de Dakar, a biomedical research centre in Senegal, said: “We’re not waiting for an outbreak. We’re anticipating it.” And billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates, speaking during a keynote address at the American Association for the Advancement of Science, said that if Covid-19 reaches Africa, the


continent could be looking at a death toll in the millions. Despite the concerns, Williams said she was optimistic that public information campaigns the DRASA Health Trust have been working on in recent months are having an impact. She said: “Education and awareness is so important. They really contribute to Africans

stands for “infection prevention and control”. She said: “It’s basically simple strategies that can be implemented in the hospital environment to reduce the chance of a virus spreading. “For example, the same way you or I might wash our hands before a meal is not the same way a doctor should be washing their hands in hospital.

SPREAD A lot of “There’s a completely different method and practice to how people don’t they do it. This is important because the way you take that trust modern glove off, the way you dismedicine or go pose of it, the way you wash the linen, the way you wash to hospitals the bedsheets that come into understanding what this coronavirus is and how to protect themselves so they’re not operating from a place of fear. Yes, these things are scary, but there are things we can do and there are simple steps we can take to protect ourselves.” One of her recent initiatives is a public health campaign centred around IPC – which


contact with patients, the way you clean the environment, these are factors that can either stop or facilitate the spread of germs, bacteria or viruses. “So when we do our training we don’t just train the clinical staff, such as doctors and nurses, we train the admin staff, we train the cleaners as well, we train the people that manage the waste.”


She continued: “We’ve had cases here in Nigeria where cleaners have spread infections through an entire hospital because they cleaned up an area where there was an infected patient with a mop, so you can easily see how these things can spread, especially if people haven’t been trained. “The fact that we work with government has allowed us to reach as many people as possible.” In a bid to support underfunded health systems such as Nigeria’s, the WHO is sending kits to 29 laboratories on the continent to ensure they have the capacity to deal with the virus and test samples from other countries. Also, financial backing to tackle the disease may come in the form of the World Bank’s Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility which can provide an additional source of financing to help the world’s poorest countries respond to large-scale outbreaks in the event of a pandemic. However, the coronavirus outbreak is not yet considered a pandemic.



Exclusive Voice interview

BRIDGING THE GAP Venture capital expert Paula Groves is helping to uncover hidden business gems with money-making potential by backing often-overlooked black and female entrepreneurs By Vic Motune


ENTURE CAPITALISTS – private investors who provide funding to start-up businesses that have huge growth potential – have been behind many of the companies that have helped transform the way we live over the past two decades. Venture capital money has paved the way for a wave of innovative business models that enable companies to connect with their customers in radically new ways. Google, Uber, WhatsApp, Groupon, Facebook, Shopify and Airbnb are just a few of the businesses that have been backed by venture capitalists and whose success has had far-reaching influence on society as a whole. However, many ambitious minority ethnic business owners will tell you that venture capital investors – and the entrepreneurs they decide to invest in – seem to overlook the issue of diversity. Minorities and women are significantly under-represented both in terms of those who have the power to provide funding and also those receiving it. Indeed, statistics would seem to bear out often-repeated claims that the venture capital field is essentially an all-boys club with a mostly white workforce. A recent survey by US-based site RateMyInvestor found that the typical founding team in a start-up that successfully receives venture capital funding is “all male”, “all white”, and “residing in Silicon Valley”. British statistics also present a discouraging picture. According to recent research by the Economic and Social Research Council, businesses run by black and minority ethnic (BAME) entrepreneurs were estimated to contribute between

gy-oriented companies led by minority ethnic and female entrepreneurs. At the time, there were very few venture capitalists or other types of investors in the United States investing in these groups. As well as her role in founding Axxon, Groves has used her expertise to develop targeted investment funds for a number of other organisations. She has created funds for the Oakland Chamber of Commerce and the US Small Business Administration that help entrepreneurs from underrepresented communities gain access to capital. In the process she helped clients secure more than $11 million in debt and equity capital and increase their revenues by One woman was determined to $4 million. do something about it. Now the respected investor Over the course of a long and and consultant has turned her distinguished career in venture attentions to the UK. capital investment and consultGroves is one of the founding ing, Stanford University and members of Impact X Capital, a Harvard Business School grad- £100 million investment fund uate Paula Groves has built a created by a unique, diverse strong reputation in the United team of venture capitalists who States as a social impact inves- are strategically targeting busitor, one who works with entre- nesses from under-represented preneurs from communities under-reprethat also deliver sented commua positive social nities. impact. A central One of the tenet of this key issues that type of inthe team wants vesting is that to address is when these the fact that the businesses reoverwhelming ceive financial majority of venbacking it can ture capital inSTUDENT DAYS: vestments in the have a transPaula at Stanford formative efUK go to white, fect, not just university-eduon the businesscated men. es, but the communities they For Groves and her team, spring from as well. this represents a huge gap in Groves won plaudits after the venture capital market that co-founding the private equity offers real opportunities. “With Impact X my thesis firm Axxon Capital in 1999. The company raised that there are hidden gems in $54 million from pension funds the UK waiting to be investand high net worth individuals ed in has proven to be true,” and then invested in technolo- Groves says.

£25 billion to £32 billion per year to the British economy. Other figures, published in 2017 from the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, highlighted the fact the Total Early Stage Entrepreneurial Activity rate among non-white Britons was 14.5 per cent, compared to 7.9 per cent for white Britons. Yet despite growing levels of entrepreneurial activity in the BAME community, aspiring black business owners often struggle to get significant investment to help their businesses grow. Statistics show that, overall, only one per cent of venture capital investments go to black-owned businesses.



“We’ve seen women with backgrounds that are outstanding. For example, we are looking at one female entrepreneur who has a neural science degree who is developing technology to transform the clinical trial process, which loses over $44 billion every year because of the inefficiency of the process. “We have another female entrepreneur who has a PhD and is developing technology to enhance the clarity of mobile phones. As you probably know, you often have to say to someone on the other end of your mobile phone call, ‘can you hear me?’ “The background and the intellectual capacity of these black females is outstanding and they are developing deep science companies and technologies that will transform our world.” Groves began what she describes as her “lifelong romance with finance” early in life. Growing up in Los Alamos,


New Mexico, she was often the only African American student in her classes. But she excelled academically because education was a priority in her family. “My father had a PhD in chemistry, my mother had a masters in biology and she was a teacher at the Los Alamos

These black females will transform the world with their technology middle school where she taught biology and science,” she recalls. “Succeeding in school and getting top grades in our class was a priority for me and my sister.” However, Groves rebelled at the idea of following her par-


ents into science: “In my freshman year at Stanford I took an economics class and I felt like a lightbulb was switched on in my mind. “I thought ‘this is how the world works’. It is driven by money and economics.” She continues: “If you look at key issues like community empowerment and development, at the base of it all is the monetary system. Translating the monetary system into economic opportunity was such an inspiration for me and I thought to myself, ‘this is what I want to do’. “I wanted to be involved in changing the world from a finance perspective and get more money and opportunity into communities of colour.” A life-changing opportunity to work on Wall Street came while studying at Stanford through an organisation called Sponsors of Educational Opportunity (SEO). “The mission of SEO was to get more women and people of



Celebrating W men

Supported by


SENSE OF PURPOSE: Inset left, Paula Groves, one of the founders of Impact X Capital, has made it her mission to uncover ‘hidden gems’ that are worth investing in; above, several studies have shown that innovative companies headed by women and minorities are often overlooked by venture capital investors colour into Wall Street jobs,” Groves says. “I mention this because it’s something I’m very passionate about. I was given this opportunity as a result of an organisation that was focused on this space so I want to continue creating opportunities for people of colour and women as well. “I saw that I had the benefit of a fantastic education, an opportunity to go to Stanford and Harvard, to work on Wall Street and I felt an overwhelming obligation to share my knowledge with people from my community.” After her MBA at Harvard, a successful career in the world of finance followed, where she held a number of high-level roles, including partner at Triumph Capital. But Groves has always had a passion for social impact investing, a passion that led to the creation of Axxon Capital. “It is very important for people to be empowered to create their own economic opportuni-

ties and not be dependent upon handouts or welfare,” she says. “This happens through a combination of education and opportunity. “What I understood was that if you could provide economic opportunity as well as economic education we, as people of colour, could then be empow-

It’s unfair that all the funding should only go to white men ered to create our own financial success.” She continues: “The other reason I decided to start Axxon was that a lot of the money used by investors to finance businesses came from the pension funds of janitors, teachers, and public employees. And a

high percentage of people in these groups were black. “The money that was being invested in venture capital was diverse money yet the people who were receiving this money to start businesses were not diverse. “So I felt a calling, if you will. I thought that it was unfair that all of the funding from teachers, janitors and public employees should only be going to white men. “Also when I decided to do research into other entrepreneurs that needed funding, I realised that they were creating fantastic businesses, they had fantastic ideas and these were the hidden gems in our society that were being overlooked.” Axxon went on to invest in 10 different businesses, three of which were sold to larger institutions. These included companies in the field of telecommunications and technology, while others were working with multinational companies such as American Express.

Now Impact X Capital has provided Groves with a new challenge. The idea to create the fund came out of a meeting of highprofile entrepreneurs, investors and celebrities, including Sir Lenny Henry, that took place in May 2018.


For those who attended the meeting, the challenge of how to support businesses that could contribute to the social and economic empowerment in the black community was as much on their minds as creating a new generation of globally successful entrepreneurs. Impact X Capital’s CEO, Eric Collins, an entrepreneur who has helped sell companies to the likes of Microsoft and Nuance, as well as running a number of successful venture capital companies across the world, had worked with Groves when she was running Axxon Capital. “We had stayed in touch,”

she says. “Then about a year ago he called and started asking me really arcane questions about capital, how it worked and what were the quantitative analyses that one had to have in order to be successful. “I thought to myself ‘these are really weird questions that I’m probably one of only a few people that can answer them’,” she laughs. “He’d send me these financial models and ask me to decipher them and I would and then finally, in November 2018, he did the big reveal and told me that he had been recruited to start a venture capital fund called Impact X Capital for black entrepreneurs, and would I be interested in partnering with him to launch that. And I said, ‘absolutely’.” Among those who joined her are Ursula Burns, the first black woman CEO of a Fortune 500 company, Xerox, and named as one of the most powerful women in the world by Forbes; Ric Lewis, the founder, chair-

man and co-CEO of the largest black-owned business in the UK, Tristan Capital Partners, a real estate investment firm with £11bn under management; and Yvonne Bajela, a former senior investment manager at Mitsui & Co, where she led more than $200 million in investments. Does she feel that such an ambitious project like Impact X Capital heralds a change in the venture capital industry in terms of greater diversity? “There’s still a long way to go before we reach parity,” she says. “I consider parity to be if the number of black women, for example, at the decision-making levels within venture capital was the same as our percentage of population. So we are definitely not at parity. “I believe that is why we also see have the same lack of access to capital for black entrepreneurs. “But through Impact X Capital we are trying to bridge that gap.”


Soul Stirrings

Supported by


As she opens a studio, Adaku Parker says changing careers has paid off By Vic Motune


HERE ARE many who might see the decision to give up a well-paid job in law as something of a risk. But for barrister-turned-designer Adaku Parker, the decision has paid off. As her African wax fabric business goes from strength to strength, Parker is launching a new studio in east London. The new venture will act as the creative headquarters of her company, Dovetailed London, and comes after the growing popularity of the fabrics she produces. The launch of a new studio follows a year that saw her achieve a brimming order book and several television appearances – including as a finalist on Kirstie Allsopp’s Handmade Christmas 2019. The mum-of-three is also a popular exhibitor at major craft and sewing shows across the UK and regularly appears on the Sewing Quarter television channel, where her fabrics often sell out. And she is currently writing a ground-breaking book about sewing with African wax print fabric. The studio will also allow

the brand to grow and meet increasing demand for sewing workshops, fabrics and patterns. Parker spent almost 20 years working as a criminal barrister before becoming an accidental entrepreneur in 2016. As a new mum, she took a few textile and sewing evening classes while on maternity leave and her bespoke creations, such as bags and clothes, were soon in demand.

NEW HORIZONS: Barrister turned designer Adaku Parker


As the orders came flooding in her business was born and the 40-year-old hasn’t looked back. She said: “What started out as a side-hustle when I was on maternity leave has evolved into a fantastic flourishing business which is a celebration of African fashion and British design. “The new Dovetailed London studio will take us to the next level in terms of stock availability, new workshops that we can host and will be a nurturing and inspiring place for me to create new patterns so customers can make unique clothes from our exquisite fabrics.” Speaking about her love of African wax fabrics, Parker

SOME OF Africa’s most innovative start-ups have been invited to take part in a global tech project to take their businesses and ideas to the next level. Go Global Africa, a scheme run by the UK government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport through its International Tech Hub Network, aims to build links with the UK’s thriving digital sector and pave the way for future economic partnerships. The successful programme, which first launched in 2019, is currently open to firms from Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa, developing tech solutions in finance, agriculture, health and clean energy. The scheme will help firms in the host country make links with British start-ups in new markets and benefit from the expertise in our booming tech ecosystem, which, according to Tech Nation, is worth £184 billion to the economy every year. Africa is home to a rapidly growing tech

said: “I absolutely love the bold, bright colours of African wax fabric. The structured nature of the fabric makes it a dream to sew with. “People are pleasantly surprised by the fit of their wax print garments and how flattering it is on the form. “The fabric is versatile and

can be used in clothes and bag-making, quilting and upholstery.” She added: “The history of African wax prints is incredibly interesting. Many of the different designs and motifs, especially the older ones, have meanings and are often named after sayings, personalities or

occasions. Essentially, the fabric tells a story.” Marguerite Metz, senior event and exhibition coordinator for Craft Central, which owns the space that the Dovetailed London studio will be based at, said: “At Craft Central, it is always exciting to have new people join our studios. Ada-

ku will be a great addition to our creative community with her vibrant textiles. With our 67 studios, and with a diverse range of practices, we provide a friendly and conducive environment in which to work.” For further details, please visit dovetailed.co.uk.

sector. Its start-ups raised 50 per cent more venture capital in 2017 than in 2016. The majority of this is being invested in South Africa (£130 million), Kenya (£114 million) and Nigeria (£89 million).

cided with the start of the UK-Africa Investment Summit in London on January 20 which brought together businesses, governments and international institutions to promote investment opportunities across Africa.



Nigeria’s tech sector generates more than 10 per cent of the country’s economic output and the sector is projected to create three million jobs and generate £67.4 billion for the economy by 2021. Kenya’s technology sector is growing rapidly and is worth more than 11 per cent of the country’s economic output. It is considered one of the most vibrant, advanced and successful in Africa. And South Africa attracted a record amount of investment in tech in 2017, raising almost £128 million. Research by the World Economic Forum ranks the country as one of the best place to do business in Africa.


INNOVATIVE PARTNERSHIPS: Some of the participants in 2019’s Go Global event According to the World Economic Forum, Africa’s early stage entrepreneurial activity is 13 per cent higher than the global average. Lagos, Nairobi and Cape Town have emerged as internationally recognised technology centres, hosting thousands of start-ups and organisations that support them. Entrepreneurs who have developed products that are ready to go to market and already raised investment are invited to apply. The launch of Go Global Africa 2020 coin-


Speaking about Go Global, digital minister Matt Warman said: “Africa is home to a rapidly growing tech sector and it is great to welcome leading figures from across the continent to the UK-Africa Investment summit. “Through the Go Global Africa project, we are giving entrepreneurs the support they need to grow their business and benefit from the UK’s world-leading tech and innovation expertise. This will allow them to continue developing technology to improve lives around the world. “I encourage all those with the talent and ambition to succeed to apply for a place on this exciting project.”





From spring 2020

the law around organ donation in England is changing Unless you choose to opt out, you will be considered to have agreed to be an organ donor when you die. To find out more about your choices, including how to opt out: visit organdonation.nhs.uk or call 0300 303 2094


30236 000mv Pass it On - 03 The Voice - Full Page 340mm x 268mm - English BH.indd 1

08/01/2020 15:59




Lib Dem mayoral contender Siobhan Benita among those saying black people will face discrimination


IB DEM mayoral contender Siobhan Benita has condemned Met Police plans to begin the operational use of Live Facial Recognition (LFR) technology. The plans were unveiled at the end of January and were roundly criticised by civil liberties groups who said the proposals were “intrusive” and an “expansion of the surveillance state”. The Met said the use of facial recognition technology would be intelligence-led, deployed to specific locations in London and would help officers tackle serious crime, including serious violence, gun and knife crime, child sexual exploitation and help protect the vulnerable.

Last week’s announcement follows trials of facial recognition technology at the Notting Hill Carnival in 2017. However, responding to news, Benita said automated facial recognition surveillance by Met Police officers would unfairly discriminate against black and minority ethnic people.


“It is unacceptable for a new form of mass surveillance like this to be rolled out on to London’s streets without proper consultation, regulation or oversight,” she said. “Facial recognition technology is hopelessly inaccurate. It is biased against black and minority ethnic peo-

ple and also women. The evidence that it will make us safer is patchy at best, but there is a real risk that it will erode civil liberties and increase distrust and discrimination. “To make London safer, we must restore effective community policing, starting with the re-opening of local police stations, which the current mayor has shut down.” London Assembly member Sian Berry said: “Both the results and the independent academic review of the Met’s trials of facial recognition showed that this intrusive technology was not effective, and used in a way that abused Londoners’ human rights. In the assembly, I

was given assurance by the Deputy Mayor and Commissioner it would not be deployed unless ethical and legal barriers could be overcome. It appears the Met intend to ignore these promises and proceed with yet another SPEAKING OUT: Lib Dem mayoral hopeful Siobhan Benita deeply concerning infringement harming public rights and was to use new technologies to keep of our basic civil liberties.” people safe in London. Independ81 per cent inaccurate.” However, Met officers stressed ent research has shown that the it would not be used in a discrimi- public support us in this regard. “Prior to deployment, we will Silkie Carlo, director of Big natory way and that the technolBrother Watch, said: “This de- ogy would assist them in locating be engaging with our partners and communities at a local level. cision represents an enormous and arresting wanted people. “We are using a tried-andMet Assistant Commissioner expansion of the surveillance state and a serious threat to civil Nick Ephgrave said: “This is tested technology, and have takan important development for en a considered and transparent liberties in the UK. “It flies in the face of the the Met and one which is vital approach in order to arrive at independent review showing in assisting us in bearing down this point. Similar technology is the Met’s use of facial recogni- on violence. As a modern police already widely used across the tion was likely unlawful, risked force, I believe we have a duty UK, in the private sector.”



Guest column


Last month, Zita Holbourne of campaign group BARAC UK tried to stop a


Jamaica. Here, she recalls what happened and how the campaign is continuing

N THE morning of February 11, the second mass deportation by charter flight to Jamaica departed since the Windrush Scandal was exposed. However, it left with one third of those the government intended to deport, through the collective efforts of campaigners, lawyers and politicians. There were a number of protests, one organised by my organisation BARAC UK and our umbrella group BAME Lawyers For Justice. There was an emergency debate in Parliament, with several MPs throughout the day and evening raising concerns and two class legal actions were lodged. Legal action taken by Detention Action aimed at preventing deportation was successful. Early in the evening of Monday February 10, the day before the flight departed, all those booked on the flight at these two centres were advised by the staff there that their flights were cancelled, only to find themselves being segregated and isolated a couple of hours later, in preparation for transportation to the plane. By this time, the legal case had been won, but the government lodged an appeal and decided to proceed irrespective of

the law. Some of those at these two detention centres were permitted to keep phones, so we were able to keep in touch with them through the night. They were driven from south east England to Doncaster Sheffield airport in coaches and vans, but one severely ill and disabled man was transferred in the convoy of vehicles in an ambulance. He has a heart condition and a liver condition and had to be transferred using breathing apparatus. It is of concern that a doctor acting on behalf of the government authorised him as being fit to fly given the severity of his conditions.


When they were half an hour away from the airport, the government lost its appeal, but nobody in authority told the people who were not supposed to be deported this. We were able to let some of them know but when they told the private security guards this, they told them it was not true. We then advised them on how to assert their legal rights not to be deported and what to inform the guards about their collective case. In the vans and coaches, there were only escorts and pri-

DEPORTATIONS PROTEST: Protesters marched from Downing Street last year in an event supported by BARAC UK

vate security guards. The latter responded that it was nothing to do with them and to tell the immigration officers when they got to the plane. By this time, it was 3am. The vehicles were driven on to the airfield where the plane was waiting. Each person was surrounded and separated by three security guards and they were about to be placed on the plane. It was very stressful. At 4.20am we received a call to advise that those from Harmondsworth and Colnbrook had just been informed, bar a couple of people, that they were not going to be deported. They were then put back on the coaches and vans and driven to Morton Hall detention centre in Lincolnshire, arriving there 7.30am, but the gates

They have served their time, but are being punished multiple times were locked so they had to sit outside for two hours awaiting somebody to unlock the gates to the grounds, then another hour approximately until the building was unlocked. By this time, apart from about 45 minutes when they were taken out of vehicles at the airport, they had been in the coaches and vans for 12 hours. At Morton Hall, they were given no information about what was going to happen to them or how long they were to stay there. In the meantime, we received many messages from

ANGER: Despite a court order, the government went ahead with its plans for deportation family members – partners and parents saying they did not know if their children and husbands etc had been deported or not as they were not able to make contact and because of the confusion and misinformation throughout the night, adding to the stress. Of the 50 people who were targeted for deportation, only 17 were taken, but those who were taken will face destitution at best. We are aware that some of those deported on previous flights have sadly been murdered or took their own lives. The government has sought to portray all those they targeted for deportation as the perpetrators of the worst possible crimes and claimed they all had sentences of more than a year. However, this is not true. Some were sentenced for just a few months, many of the convictions were from years or decades ago. One was sentenced to a couple of months under now-defunct joint enterprise law, another served seven months for fighting a man sexually harassing his young step-daughter. They have all served their time and been rehabilitated, but are now being punished multiple times, with detention, deportation and exile. Several came to the UK as children, have lived the majority of their lives in the UK, have British partners, parents and children. Some were groomed by gangs but have turned their lives around, have worked for many years and have been paying their taxes and contributing

to the economy. People born in the UK do not receive three sets of punishment for their crime, likewise those who offend who migrated to the UK who are not from the Caribbean, African or Asian continents are not treated like this.


Partners struggle to survive as they have nobody to share caring responsibilities. They will struggle to go to work and earn a living if the person taken is the main carer, but equally if they were the main earner, they struggle to survive. One partner told me just yesterday that she is really struggling with her three young children and for the first time has had to make a claim for benefits. BARAC UK, BAME Lawyers For Justice, my union PCS and the TUC have called for an independent public inquiry into the Windrush Scandal. The government has tried to claim the people booked on the flight have no connection to the Windrush Generation, but they have absolutely every connection, as they came to the UK to join Windrush Generation parents and grandparents. We cannot let off the hook those complicit with such deportations, private companies involved in removals and security, coach companies, airlines and carriers, airports and the governments of countries like Jamaica who allow such planes

to land. Jamaica claim they have no choice, citing international law, but we know other countries refuse such flights. An emergency meeting called in Parliament was full, with people travelling from around the UK with less than 24 hours’ notice to discuss deportation flights, Windrush compensation and the hostile environment, chaired by Diane Abbott. Speakers included myself, representatives from Detention Action, Movement for Justice and Windrush Action plus shadow immigration minister Bell Ribeiro-Addy, pictured left. Several new black women MPs also attended. The meeting agreed to work together – communities, campaigners, lawyers and politicians – and agreed there was a need for a solid campaign responding to these injustices, human rights abuses and racism, not just when a flight is planned, but all the time. At the time of going to press, more than 135,000 people have signed our petition calling for charter flights to Jamaica and Commonwealth countries to end. If you’d like to support us, please visit: change.org/p/ stop-all-charter-flight-massdeportations-to-jamaicaother-commonwealthcountries-jamaica50 Zita Holbourne is the co-founder and national co-chair of BARAC UK, a trade union and community activist


Celebrating W men

Supported by

AFRICA’S FEMALE BUSINESS STARS WOMEN MEAN BUSINESS: Recent statistics highlight the fact that Africa has the highest number of female entrepreneurs in the world

The numbers of women on the continent starting their own businesses in the area of technology is fast rising. However experts say they must be given more support if they Vic Motune female business owners about their


HE NUMBER of female entrepreneurs in Africa is rising rapidly, according to recent statistics. And the fact that many of these women are unleashing their potential and starting businesses related to technology has seen this trend hailed as one that holds great promise for the continent’s future. According to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) 2016/17 Women’s Report, female entrepreneurship rates in sub-Saharan Africa are the highest in the world. The report found that women’s entrepreneurial activity globally was up 10 per cent, with Africa leading the way, where 25.9 per cent of the female adult population is engaged in early-stage entrepreneurial activity. Within the continent, Senegal was the best performer with 36.8 per cent, while countries such as Uganda and Botswana also had high numbers of female entrepreneurs. The majority of African female entrepreneurs – 61.8 per cent – said they started a business because they were taking advantage of opportunity, rather than out of necessity. While a positive trend, ob-

servers say that female entrepreneurs face hurdles that men do not. In many countries in Africa, most female-led enterprises have little opportunity for growth. The GEM report cited a high

announced that the UK would play a greater role in supporting female entrepreneurs in Africa. Sharma said that the UK would commit to boosting support to female entrepreneurs in Africa, helping them overcome

Banks are finding that the creditworthiness of women is higher than the men... we make sure to pay back our loans discontinuance rate – at 8.4 per cent. Around 56 per cent of female entrepreneurs in the continent cite either unprofitability or lack of finance as a reason for closing down their business – as obtaining investment from banks is difficult in a region where it is estimated that almost two-thirds of women do not have bank accounts. Recognising these trends, the UK government has decided to back Africa’s female entrepreneurs. Speaking before January’s UK Africa Investment Summit, former International Development Secretary Alok Sharma

barriers to starting businesses and connecting them to global markets. The new plans will provide support for female entrepreneurs to secure more investment through specialist business training, creating up to 3,000 more jobs, with the aim to reduce inequality in the workplace. Sharma said the UK would support investment and development partnerships for women entrepreneurs, as well as see the government work with its counterparts in countries such as Ghana, Nigeria and Kenya to develop tailored, gender-inclusive trade policies.


At the summit, The Voice spoke to three female entrepreneurs about the opportunities open to them and how they deal with the challenges they face.


As the founder and CEO of Modularity Grid, a London-based start-up, the passion of Elizabeth Nyeko (inset) is finding a solution to one of Africa’s key development challenges: how to bring affordable, efficient electricity to rural communities. Her company builds technologies to improve small-scale electricity generation and distribution systems that power homes and businesses in areas which national governments on the continent find too expensive to cover with the national grid.


The Oxford graduate is also the co-founder of Mandulis Energy, which builds biomass-fired mini-grids in Uganda. “One in five people in the world don’t have access to electricity and that was a challenge I wanted to take on,” Nyeko said. “It’s a problem that has huge impacts on health, on education, really wide-reaching impacts on people’s ability to earn money and improve their livelihoods. “Access to energy is not just an important sustainable development goal, it has an impact on all of the other sustainable goals. “So when I founded my company and Mandulis Energy with my brother Peter, who’s an aerospace engineer, we realised we had the technical skills needed to tackle this challenge and it also meant something


personally to us as well. If we can bring down the cost of electricity so that people can have access to reliable and affordable power, this can drive the kinds of activities needed to drive sustainable development and local economic development in these countries.”

The Voice: Statistics are pointing to the growing importance of female entrepreneurs in Africa. Are you seeing this in your own experience? Elizabeth Nyeko: There’s huge amounts of progress. For example, in a place like Uganda, there are more women entrepreneurs than male ones. Lots of small businesses are run by women. What the banks are now finding when they start giving out loans is that the creditworthiness of the women they give out loans to are increasingly higher than men because they make sure they pay back their loans. People are beginning to see the numbers and that women entrepreneurs are worth supporting and that they should be doing more around supporting women in business. TV: Despite their success, are there still challenges faced by



Celebrating W men DrFA: There’s been a lot of change recently and you can see that Africa is the only continent where female entrepreneurs are blazing the trail. When you look at tech, people still look at tech as the exclusive preserve for a male child, and women are not actually supported or encouraged to go into that field. That is now changing because people are seeing the benefits of having girls involved in the sector, but there is still much room for change and growth. I know of many other female entrepreneurs who are using technology to scale up their business. We’re still very far away but there are positive changes.

CREATING OPPORTUNITY: The former International Development Secretary Alok Sharma discusses ideas with female entrepreneurs during a recent trip to Nairobi

women entrepreneurs, especially in your field of engineering? EN: Whether it’s Africa, whether it’s the UK, it’s exactly the same… too few women are involved in engineering, which makes it quite challenging when you’re going out and trying to pitch a completely new piece of technology or when you’re trying to pitch a new idea that involves the use of a proven technology. People go, “do you really know what you’re talking about?” And what you find is that when you start your pitch, you have to start with your credentials and why you’re qualified, whereas a man can just walk into a room and start talking about the idea he wants to present and selling the big vision. TV: The UK government has said it wants to back female entrepreneurs like yourself. Are you encouraged by this? EN: UK Aid can be particularly helpful to shift the narrative from aid to investment, from aid to trade and help set up the kinds of businesses that can help have a tangible impact on people’s day-to-day lives.

DR FUMNI ADEWARA Dr Fumni Adewara, pictured above, a Cambridge-trained NHS physician and bioscience entrepreneur, is the founder and CEO of MobiHealth. Before developing her skills in the UK, she initially trained in Nigeria at the University of Ibadan. Mobihealth is an innovative telemedicine and digital healthcare platform with a mission to make affordable quality healthcare accessible to people in Nigeria, with plans to incorporate the business in Ghana, Rwanda, Ethiopia and Kenya. Through the mobile phone app, the company provides a complete care package to patients who can afford to pay a monthly fee of between $10 and $27. This includes video consultations, quality diagnostic tests, access to genuine medications, and specialist referrals. Poorer patients who may not have smartphones are served by clinics that travel to rural communities and connect to Mobihealth’s doctor network.

The Voice: What inspired the creation of Mobihealth? Dr Fumni Adewara: One of the biggest healthcare challenges is the shortages of doctors. If you look at the population of Nigeria, we have a 200 million population – a similar population size to America, which has 1.2 million doctors. However Nigeria has only 72,000 registered doctors. But there’s even more bad news in that 50 per cent of them are outside the country. And if you were to interview the doctors that are left behind, nine out of every 10 of them want to leave. However, Africa is one of the fastest-growing markets in mobile technology adoption. If you were to look at Nigeria alone, we have nearly 90 per cent mobile penetration. It’s unacceptable that anybody should die from preventable causes and technology can change this narrative. And this is what drives my passion. TV: You’ve been praised for being one of a new generation of African female entrepreneurs in the field of technology. Are you seeing other women coming through?

TV: The UK government has spoken of its desire to back female entrepreneurs in Africa, especially those heading technology businesses. Do you welcome this? DrFA: The UK Africa Investment Summit is so important because it showcases the endless possibilities that are there in Africa and especially in African women. Like many other places in the world, companies founded by women have been marginalised when it comes to accessing funding. It’s more difficult for us to access finance because of the barriers we face. We’re often seen as not assertive enough or not having the right experience, for example. But what the summit highlighted is that there is a tremendous opportunity in investing in women. We have delivered more revenue, more growth, and we are more likely to invest our profits into the economy That

is why it worth backing female entrepreneurs. The statistics are showing that they will deliver long-term value, not just for their families but the economy at large.


Lolade Oresanwo is the founder, COO and director of West Africa ENRG, a company based in Nigeria that diverts waste from landfill, processing 2,000 tonnes of rubbish every day and converting it into electricity for schools, hospitals and more. The company launched in 2014 after Oresanwo, pictured below, gained an MBA at Cranfield, and a career in banking where she worked for HSBC and FCMB Bank Nigeria. West Africa ENRG employs over 3,000 people, 70 per cent of whom are women. An important project for the company was overseeing the first Materials Recovery Facility in Nigeria, which is also the largest in West Africa. The company sources its finance and equipment from the UK due to quality of equipment available. They also work in partnership with the UK’s Cranfield University on research and technology.

The Voice: What led you to create your company? Lolade Oresanwo: There are a lot of issues around waste collection in sub-Saharan Africa. One of the biggest is around what is known as ‘collect and dump’. Companies will just turn up, collect the waste and then dump it. There’s no added value. But companies like ours ask, rather than just collect and

dump, what can we do in the interim? We took technology from the UK, adapted it a little and then brought it to Nigeria. And in doing so we’ve been able to solve another problem in addition to the waste management one. There is a huge youth and female unemployment problem in the Nigeria and we’ve been able to at least address that.

TV: A number of experts have predicted that the role played by women in business is set to grow in the coming years. Are they right to be optimistic? LO: I think so. If I look at myself when I started the company to where I am today, it’s amazing. When I started I’d get doors shut in my face just because I was a woman. And you’ve got to try 10 times harder to explain yourself, whereas that’s not the case for a man. Right now, people don’t look at the gender, they actually want to listen. But this wasn’t the case before and it’s been a tough slog. I’ve had on many occasions to repeat myself often and raise my voice over and over again. I think a lot of women are looking beyond the initial resistance they face and pushing ahead, and I think that’s why women are becoming front and centre. I sense a change and I sense a paradigm shift. I see a greater willingness to say “let’s look at the individual”, as opposed to what we’ve often had, which is people thinking that only a man can do this job. It’s now about “can this person do this?”, regardless of whether it’s a man or a woman and if that person can do the job, then let’s give that person equal opportunity.


Dotun Adebayo

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WONDERFUL WOMEN The rest of the world is only just catching up to the phenomenal females we’ve always known


HE PHENOMENAL black woman is as old as ancient times. Every man, woman and child alive today owes her. Because she is the mother of creation. You don’t get more phenomenal than that. We’ve always known it and now the scientists acknowledge it. Nuff said? Well, no. What about the half that has never been told? The black woman’s phenomenality is even more impressive when you consider the fight that she had to endure to survive, to protect her man, and to nurture her children. The black woman is, simply, a phenomenal phenomenon. And, it don’t stop there because there ain’t no stopping her.


Apart from my wife, the queen of lovers rock Carroll Thompson, the most phenomenal woman that I have personally known is Sonita Alleyne, OBE, the Master of Jesus College, Cambridge – the first woman to hold the post, let alone black woman. I say without hesitation that she is ‘phenomenal’ because I have watched in awe as she progressed from founding a rookie broadcast company (Somethin’ Else) and driving it to become a media powerhouse, at which point she walked away to pursue “other interests”. I thought she was mad at the time. I had known her since 1993 when my own publishing company The X Press moved into the now-trendy Hoxton Square in East London, thinking we were the greatest thing since sliced bread – the only black-owned company in the area. Little did we know that on the far-off corner of the square was this fledgling media company run by a black woman. At the time, The X Press was ahead of Somethin’ Else. Me and my business partner, Steve Pope (former editor of The Voice newspaper), each drove a high-powered Jaguar (our standard company car), whereas Sonita toodled along in one of those snub-nosed Morris

1000s that your granny used to drive. But what she possessed was the intellectual capacity to distil how the system actually works. I remember very vividly how she told me that she had decided she would earn £80,000 the next year, a ridiculously large sum in those days, but she set out her plans and how she was going to go about achieving that goal. And guess what...? But what makes her a phenomenon is not just being able to achieve greatness in her chosen field, but being able to achieve it in two different disciplines. That really is P-H-E-N-O-ME-N-A-L. It was almost as if the world of media was not taxing enough for her intellectual capacities when she turned her back on it. And I did wonder whether she was making a huge mistake

She was flying off every weekend to gigs to bring home cash to walk away from the business that she had built up just when it was blowing up like nitro. But she did and carved an impressive résumé in the non-commercial sector in which she became, amongst other things, one of the all-powerful BBC trustees. But it wasn’t until she made history as the first woman master of Jesus College that the world took notice and acknowleged her phenomenal achievements. From across the Atlantic, there’s the equally formidable American singer Jocelyn Brown, who is a force of nature. Anybody who has heard her desperate lament about being hooked on “somebody else’s guy” will know this. But I have seen first-hand just how phenomenal this woman is. I became close to Jocelyn when she moved to this country

30 years ago and I saw at close quarters how she managed to hold her family together while working her recording career with an endless stream of live gigs all over the world. She was flying off virtually every weekend to perform gigs in Spain and elsewhere in Europe, in order to bring home the financial resources to keep her extended family together in a big house up in Edgware, north London, with a massive garden so that her sister’s son could run around and enjoy himself in it. Jocelyn, you see, was his carer and looked after him, her sister, her daughter and whoever else comprised her ever-extending family. I was one of those people who were embraced like family and I spent many a time at her home, witnessing the phenomenon at close quarters. You know how we are always saying we don’t know how our mothers managed to clothe, feed and shelter all of us on whatever she could earn at her daily grind where she was faced with all sorts of other prejudicial challenges? Well, it was like that with Jocelyn. Multiplied ten-fold. I never saw her spend anything on herself, but on everybody else. The epitome of a phenomenon.

GREATNESS: Sonita Alleyne, above, made herself a media titan and more besides. Jocelyn Brown, below, used her incredible singing talents to support her family like nobody else could


Of course I could mention so many other phenomenal women. When I think back, I can only imagine how strong and resolute the late great Claudia Jones was in standing up for us all and speaking truth to power with her editorship of the first black British newspaper, the West Indian Gazette, from its launch in 1958. And that phenomenal legacy is still here for us all to see, not least in the continuance of this great newspaper, The Voice, which stands on the shoulders of that phenomenal woman. I also wonder about Fannie Lou Hamer, the civil rights activist who endured the most humiliating beating at the hands of racist policemen who made her strip to beat her in a jail cell

all because she had the temerity to encourage black people to get up stand and vote for their rights back in the early sixties of apartheid America in the Deep South. The beating didn’t deter her. Indeed, rather than being silenced by shame, she told the world about her mistreatment. And, of course, there was Emmet Till’s mother, Mamie. That she survived the

heartbreak of her 14-year-old son’s brutal murder was phenomenal. But that she defied authority by insisting on an open casket at his funeral so that the world could see how he had been slaughtered beyond all recognition was unimaginable. Again: phenomenal. And let’s not forget when we talk of phenomenal women,

the story of Madam CJ Walker (inset), who was virtually born into enslavement but became the first self-made millionairess in the world. Some may not approve that it was by inventing the hot comb, a device that enabled black women to straighten their hair unnaturally so they could be more acceptable in a white woman’s world, but there is no dispute that to achieve what she achieved considering where she came from was phenomenal.






MARCH 2020

ADVERTORIAL Caribbean impacts natural cosmetics industry By George Ruddock


here is no question in that the cosmetic industry is growing at an exponential rate which makes it hard not to notice the boom taking place at the perfume and body care counters in major retail stores on the high streets as well as supermarkets shelves across Britain. Around 50 percent of British consumers favour cosmetics made from natural ingredients, the highest figure in Europe. In 2018, sales of certified organic and natural beauty products grew for an eighth consecutive year to reach £86.5m, up 14 percent on the previous year. Because the sector is currently growing at an annual rate of 8-10 percent, this has spurred increasing demand for natural ingredients and it is no surprise that in the past year exports of essential oils from the Caribbean to the EU have grown by 33 percent. The Caribbean is not only famous for its beautiful beaches and rum but also for the natural ingredients produced in the region and this where a

number of innovative Caribbean entrepreneurs are capitalising on a niche in the international market place. Damie Sinanan, the competitiveness and export promotion manager of the Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export) said: “Apart from the health benefits of these essential oils and other natural ingredients many Caribbean companies sell in the EU, they also work hard to make products as sustainable as possible, from production to packaging, with the aim of not generating waste or harming the environment”, comments Sinanan. Last September, three such companies participated in the Caribbean Export’s 4th CARIFORUM-EU Business Forum and Authentic Caribbean Expo in Frankfurt, Germany which gave Bahama Spa, Sugar Town Organics and True Shades Cosmetics the opportunity to put their products in front of potential buyers and distributors. Here we look at these three Caribbean companies, all headed by women, that are making their mark on the natural cosmetic industry.

Your True Shade just for you skin tone and was delicate enough to not aggravate her sensitive skin and eczema. In the absence of suitable products, she did what any good Chemical Engineer would do: She made it herself and that is how “Your True Shade” was born. Dianne Plummer, founder and CEO of True Shade Cosmetics Limited Dianne Plummer is the founder and CEO of True Shade Cosmetics Limited, producers of the uniquely Jamaican cosmetic brand ‘Your True Shade’. It is Jamaica’s first natural make up line and the company was incorporated in August 2015, but the idea to create the line came from Dianne’s own experience while studying overseas back in 2011.


The Chemical Engineer graduate had embarked on a journey to pursue Master’s degrees in Sustainable Energy and Mechanical Engineering. While there, she faced a major issue in finding cosmetic products that both matched her


Seeing the potential in her products, and based on constant requests from friends, she decided not to keep it to herself. What started out as an act of necessity led to a viable profit-making endeavour with Your True Shade cosmetic line which is becoming available at pharmacies and beauty supplies stores in Jamaica. Dianne says her vision for Your True Shade is to be a trailblazer in natural cosmetics dedicated to creating healthy products of the highest quality. “YTS is manufactured for women of colour and provides the shades that typically women have a difficulty in finding. What’s different too is the type of ingredients. We use natural minerals, aloe vera, shea butter, things that people who have sensitive skin can feel comfortable using. We are also



BahamaSpa products made with love sustainability mandate.” Among the BahamaSpa product line are: Mango Sugar Scrub, Ocean Water Soap On Rope, Sandy Feet Soap Scrub, Sea Salt Soap, Island Man Sexy Hand and Body Chantilly Cream, Ocean Bath Bar and Coconut Tart Hand & Body Cream.

BahamaSpa, founded by Indira Weech and established in 2004, manufactures luxurious bath and body line of products handmade with love in paradise, inspired by the vibrant culture, beauty secrets and the natural beauty of The Bahamas. The BahamaSpa brand is sold at upscale boutiques, resorts and spas and the products are made with various edible ingredients and powered by sea salt and ocean water harvested from the pristine waters of The Bahamas.


Indira says the aim of her enterprise is to protect women from harmful chemicals, provide job opportunities and teach new skills to women. “We are a 90% female owned business”, she says. “Our products are made from the very finest from the land and sea. They are perfect for the spa and salon markets and do excellent in retail in the souvenir and gift market as well...we are the perfect gift! “Our business was started to provide a sustainable yet upscale gift for the tourism industry. We began our journey with a soap and due to demand we expanded our product offering to become a full line of spa and wellness products. “In 2020 we expanded and added a subscription box service and a line for hair care and products for the home. We have private labeled products for an exclusive resort,” Indira explains. BahamaSpa has been featured on ABC’s


Indira Weech, founder of BahamaSpa Good Morning America and in international publications. Just this February, BahamaSpa was chosen as an exclusive gift for the celebrities at a 2020 Oscar Awards after show party in Los Angeles, Califormia. The international exposure for the company is also growing as Indira indicates: “We are also honoured to be chosen as the first product to represent The Bahamas at the 2020 World Expo in Dubai later this year because of our commitment to excellence and our

Indira said her participation at the Caribbean Export’s 4th CARIFORUM-EU Business Forum and Authentic Caribbean Expo in Frankfurt, Germany Expo was and outstanding experience. She said: “There are so many people who came to our stand and bought all the products we had and I still get request now from people who wanted to re-order. Many said they were drawn to the stand because of the alluring aroma from the products.” Indira is looking to expand her BahamaSpa product line in luxury markets globally, particularly into England, France, Spain and the Netherlands, so she is actively seeking strategic partnerships, distribution and retail opportunities. For more information visit: www.thebahamaspa.com

Sugar Town ventures into food and cosmetics

certified by Cruelty Free International so people who use vegan products can be comfortable using our products,” says Dianne. Speaking about her participation at the 4th CARIFORUMEU Business Forum in Frankfurt, Germany last September, Dianne said she reached out to a lot of fashion designers, models and other influencers and she was able to establish on going links in marketing YTS products in Germany. “I am really focused on the international market and I have linked up with Sugar Brown Cosmetics in Finland to do private labelling for them and also make-up classes. The market for YTS is for those persons who are having a challenging time in getting make up and skin care products suitable for them,” Dianne said. For more information visit: www.yourtrueshade.com

Sugar Town Organics is an agro-processing company based in St Kitts and Nevis headed by Anastasha Elliot. It was formed in the 2004 to craft edible goods as well as cosmetics, using agricultural produce grown within the Caribbean with a focus on its island home. The company uses traditional techniques in its formulations to craft unique products inspired by the twin island’s culture and history.


Anastasha Elliot said the company’s primary aim is to “offer a unique wellness experience for men and women, with a dedication to providing the highest quality of healthy foods and cosmetics infused by our culture, ingenuity, innovation and originality.” Sugar Town Organics currently provides products in four ranges. Hair care which covers shampoo, conditioner, leave in conditioner, hair growth serum, hair butter and hair

oil for natural or processed hair and also for locks. Skin care using herbal soaps, face wash, face toner, face serum, night facial oil, face crème and eye crème.


Body care comprising lotions, deodorant and perfume spritz. A new baby line has now been added to their portfolio. Anastasha, who runs the business alongside her mother, says the company is built on a family legacy of healing through nature, utilising food to aid continued health and heal from diseases.


Reflecting on taking part in the Caribbean Export’s 4th CARIFORUM-EU Business Forum and Authentic Caribbean Expo in Frankfurt, Germany. In Frankfurt, Germany last September, Anastasha said: “It was your first time being that far to Europe and to an event of that nature. It gave me a wonderful insight into what people on the

Anastasha Elliot with her Sugar Town Organics brand ground are looking for and also gave me knowledge of some of the charges that can be incurred if your products are in plastic instead of renewable packaging. It gave me valuable access to information like that. “Caribbean Export’s help has been quite invaluable for our business as they have given us exposure to different markets which we could not have done on our own,” Anatasha said. For more information visit: www.sugartownorganics.com/

This article is part of a series featuring Caribbean entrepreneurs and businesses sponsored by the Caribbean Export Development Agency. Working together with the European Union, the Caribbean Export Development Agency supports the sustainable development of Caribbean brands ultimately to increase employment in the region, inclusiveness, particularly for youth, women and indigenous groups, and secure overall poverty reduction. www.carib-export.com


MARCH 2020

Midlands News NEWS IN BRIEF

Book of the Month: Overcoming Depression Derby-based Professor Paul Gilbert has released an updated edition of his enduring book which continues to gain acclaim. Overcoming Depression has already been acknowledged as having benefitted thousands of people living with depression, as well as their friends and families. The fully revised third edition has been extensively updated and rewritten to reflect new research on understanding and treating depression, particularly the importance of developing compassionate ways of thinking, behaving and feeling. It contains helpful case studies and new, easy-to-follow, step-by-step suggestions and exercises to help you understand your depression and lift your mood. The book is being championed by Nottingham City Council’s Library Service and is available via nottinghamcity.gov.uk/ onlinecatalogue. Awards helping to beat mental health stigma The West Midlands Combined Authority continues its attempts to remove the stigma and taboo of mental health issues by hosting the latest instalment of its Thrive Awards. The event named winners in 13 categories to celebrate the people, teams or organisations who have made a significant contribution to improving mental health. Diane Sawyers was one of the winners at the awards, which recognises the contributions made in four areas of the county: Birmingham and Solihull; the Black Country; Coventry, Warwickshire and Redditch; and Shropshire, Tel-

WELL DESERVED: Thrive winner Diane Sawyers ford & Wrekin, Herefordshire, Cannock Chase and Tamworth. Diane has experience in the field of mental health and is the voluntary manager at Holford Drive Community Sports Hub in Perry Barr, Birmingham, which she set up as a safe haven for local residents. Her work includes helping young people with mental health issues through reassurance, providing warm meals, training, volunteering and playing sport. Her support has enabled them to stay connected with their community and to avoid crime. Previous Thrive winners include Bedazzle, who work with vulnerable pupils in Black Country schools and the Bright Star Boxing Academy, making a difference to young people affected by depression. Soul Acoustic returns for five nights around the UK Legendary Midlands label Punch Records has announced the return of its popular Soul Acoustic tour in which five rising artists will take to the road to fulfil five UK dates. The quintet – Manga Saint Hilare, HMD, Morgan Munroe, Cariss Auburn and Ricardo Williams – will appear in Birmingham, Leicester, Manchester, Sheffield and London on successive nights between March 25-29. For more, visit wearepunch. co.uk.

by Veron Graham

IT’S GAME-ON FOR THE SECOND CITY Birmingham planning for Commonwealth joy


RISING ATHLETICS star is among those celebrating the next step on the redevelopment of Alexander Stadium, following the approval of the £72 million plans by Birmingham City Council in its preparation for the city to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games. The famed stadium will be the focal point of the Games, hosting the opening and closing ceremonies plus athletics events during the 11-day tournament, with the capability to accommodate more than 30,000 fans. Post-Games it will be at the centre of a regenerated Perry Barr area of the city, which is receiving more than £500 million of investment in the UK’s second city in the coming years, which also includes new housing, improved transport and related upgrades to STADIUM PLANNING APPLICATION SUCCESS: Triple jumper Nathan Douglas, Cllr Ian infrastructure and public space. Ward, Deborah Cadman of West Midlands Combined Authority, triple jumper Abazz ShayaamSmith, Ian Reid of Birmingham 2022, West Midlands deputy mayor Cllr Bob Sleigh and Birmingham City Council’s Cllr Brigid Jones The revamped stadium is set to “It’s really important, not Commonwealth and indeed host a range of tenants, includ- activities for local residents just for athletes competing. the wider world will be on the ing the world-famous Birchfield and the wider general public. Abazz Shayaam-Smith, tri- How many people like me will venue during the Games, but Harriers Athletics Club and Birple jumper and Team England get to come into this track and the long-term opportunities mingham City University. The stadium will provide a scholarship recipient, said: be inspired? To think of how the improved stadium will ofnew home for the university’s “The first time I came here I many nations will come here fer Perry Barr, and indeed the sports and exercise students, was 13 years old. Today was in 2022 and compete on this wider region and nation, mean the delivery of this scheme is bringing an exciting new the first day I have been to the track, it’s so exciting.” Cllr Ian Ward, leader of Bir- crucial for the city’s future.” partnership and purpose to the track since they knocked down Construction of the new stadium beyond athletics, as the main stand, it’s going to be mingham City Council, added: well as becoming a focal point really inspirational. I’ve seen “This particular scheme is stand will commence in spring for a range of leisure, health, the designs and it’s going to integral to all of those aims of this year, with completion in and benefits. The eyes of the late 2021. wellbeing and community look really good.


Who is Nurse Brown in this portrait?

STRIKING POSE: The painting is entitled Nurse Brown From Jamaica. But who exactly is she?

A CAMPAIGNING playwright and artist may have come a step closer to identifying the woman depicted in a mysterious piece of art that has been on display at a gallery in Wolverhampton. Jefny Ashcroft and Joy Baines led three talks in January and February at the Lichfield Street gallery on the painting of Nurse Brown From Jamaica, the name given to the piece that was donated to the gallery by the late Birmingham painter Irene Welburne as a gift in 1965.


The talks were given in the hope that more details of the painting would emerge from attendees. One suggested the subject’s full name may have been Ivy Brown, an assertion that delighted Ashcroft. “A total of around 90 people came, which isn’t bad, and we got good feedback during each,” she said. “I was hoping that they were not attended only by middle aged white people like me, and they weren’t! The audiences were quite diverse.” But why is this painting so


fascinating? “I was attracted by the strange gesture Nurse Brown is making with her hands,” Ashcroft added. “Also, you don’t often see pictures of black women from that time, so I was attracted to it, and then I saw her hands and wondered what that symbol was. The painting was created in 1956, at a time when it was unusual to see paintings of a young black nurse. “If she is from the Rastafarian community, as has been suggested, that again would be very unusual as early as 1956.


“We know Nurse Brown was from Jamaica, but we don’t know if she’s still alive, or which hospital she worked at, although we may now have a clue on what her first name was. “We feel the painting deserves to be better known; we believe it’s rare for someone like Nurse Brown to have sat for a serious, good-quality portrait like this in 50s Britain.” Ashcroft, who is looking at creating a play to celebrate the painting, is keen to hear from anyone who knows more, via jefny.ashcroft@gmail.com.



Celebrating W men

Supported by


ITH A rich track record of advocacy stretching back over a quarter of a century, WAITS (Women Acting in Today’s Society) continues to champion the rights and aspirations of females who have fallen on difficult times. Led by chief executive Marcia Lewinson, who joined the Birmingham-based organisation as a volunteer in the mid-1990s, the organisation continues to navigate the choppy waters of sustainability as successive central governments implement strategies which are not always favourable to voluntary sector groups. Marcia told The Voice: “The vision is not about me or the group speaking, but for WAITS to empower women to speak for themselves on the issues they are facing.


“It is always great to see the turnaround in the women we work with, seeing them able to run their own groups.” WAITS’ growth mirrors the development of Marcia, who came across the group as a mature student. Having heard an inspirational presentation on its work by group founder Joan Blaney CBE, Marcia went on to complete a two-year Access course and set off to university, emerging with a Youth and Community degree in 1998. Developing a series of community-based programmes as she studied, Marcia was invited to re-join WAITS as a community organiser, graduated to a management position, then to CEO in 2005. “I like to see success, particularly when former volunteers and service users come back to run groups in the city. This is what keeps me going!” WAITS’ success stories include setting up a phone line to help women quickly apply for welfare benefits themselves, setting up floating support services to meet women in their homes/local areas and assisting survivors to campaign against domestic violence. Although WAITS works with women of all backgrounds, it prides itself on being specifically targeted towards supporting black women.

Women Acting in Today’s Society is continuing to grow by supporting those who have fallen on “In the early days, the only provision for women were in refuges, and these were typically not accessible to meet a black woman’s cultural needs, and delivering this is a very important part of effective delivery of care and support, which

I like to see success, particularly when former volunteers and users come back to run the groups recognises the whole person,” said Marcia. “I was raised by a father (in the Selly Oak area of Birmingham) who was not educated but taught us our roots and to hold our heads up high when we faced opposition from neighbours and shopkeepers, etc.” “WAITS was really innovative and faced opposition from

more established groups in the early days, but we kept on. “We survived when the economic recession hit, but we had to take a hard look at the services we were offering, because the funders wanted sustainability, which I understand. We had to make sure that this was built into the way we operated.” Unabated, WAITS continued to flourish. Ten years ago it began working with female offenders, two years later it was operating three residential premises across Birmingham, and by 2013 its CEO’s reputation earned her one of two vacant seats at an engagement meeting in the Second City Birmingham – the other was subsequently taken by the thenprime minister David Cameron. Marcia joked: “I put a question to him which I felt he tried to evade, as though he didn’t understand. I didn’t let him get away with it!” Looking back at WAITS, Marcia said: “It’s been a fantastic journey. I’m thankful to have been able to do the things I’ve done, speaking to women in my home town and taking the importance of women’s issues to politicians, our houses of parliament and across the world.”

WOMEN OF SUBSTANCE: WAITS chief executive Marcia Lewinson, above, and, right, with David Cameron

If you have a story for the East or West Midlands, call/text Veron Graham on 07954 572 988, email veronpgraham@gmail.com, or find him on Facebook or LinkedIn


by Abigail Reid

N rthern News


Three great events that are happening for International Women’s Day (March 8) HERITAGE PROJECT BY WONDERFULLY MADE WOMAN AN AFRICAN headwrap is a beautiful way to complete your outfit and if you’ve ever wanted to learn how to tie one, then this International Women’s Day event in Manchester, My Culture, My Heritage, is the place to be. Organised by Wonderfully Made Woman, a charity providing holistic support for women and girls, the event promises to showcase the best of Nigerian heritage. Founder and CEO Ehinor Otaigbe-Amedu, right, says guests will have the opportunity to experience a typical Nigerian party. “There will be a fashion show, traditional dancing as well as the headwrap (gele) showcase and competition. Complementary African food will be served along with drinks and of course there will be music and dancing for all who attend,” she said. The free event will be attended by the Mayor of Tameside and is being held at the Transformation Community Resource Centre in Ardwick. “Women, it’s our time to celebrate. I encourage you to come and celebrate yourself, meet new friends and listen to the success stories of women who, against all odds, are still standing. It’s going to be a fun-filled day,” Otaigbe-Amedu added. Visit wonderfullymadewoman.org for further details.

INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY CONFERENCE IN SHEFFIELD FOLLOWING THE success of their inaugural International Women’s Day event last year, an organisation in South Yorkshire is planning another day of empowerment on March 7. Northern Women of Colour is hosting a conference in Sheffield with a line-up of speakers set to “inspire, motivate and enable you to take your careers, lives and businesses to another level”. The theme of this year’s conference is “Each one for Equal”, with an ambitious drive to achieve gender-equal boardrooms, government, workplaces, media coverage, health and wealth. According to co-founder Carol Stewart, this is essential to enable women to create better lives for themselves, their families and their communities. Taking place at Ellesmere Children’s Centre in the city, the full-day event includes a Caribbean lunch. “I want women to be empowered and not be limited by the barriers to achieve equality due to gender and race so that they can progress,” added Stewart. “As women of colour we often face what I refer to as a ‘double-glazed ceiling’ and we aim to give them the information, techniques and tools that they can use to progress in their careers. We want to attract women who feel that they are not achieving their full potential and recognise that there is

INSPIRE: Northern Women of Colour founders Carol Stewart, Maxine Lewis, Jacqueline Clarke more in them, in terms of what they want to achieve in life.” Listed as one of Britain’s top 50 business advisers by Enterprise Nation in 2015, a We Are The City rising star champion award winner in 2018 and named a LinkedIn top voice UK for the past three years, Carol can bring a wealth of expertise to her clients. She founded the Northern Women of Colour events with her sister Maxine Lewis and friend Jacqueline Clarke. Together they hope to plan more

events on key dates throughout the year, such as Windrush Day (June 22). With an impressive line-up of speakers including writer and storyteller Tanya Akrofi and marketing consultant Marcia Hylton, the day is intended to provide women with the knowledge required to elevate their lives and careers. Attendees will also be able to select from a range of workshops including how to set SMART business goals, effectively identifying your custom-

er and how to create wealth. Stewart said: “We want to ensure that the event is relevant and a nice experience where guests can learn new things and meet other women that they can network and collaborate with. “Last year there was a real sense of sisterhood amongst both the speakers and guests and we want to maintain that.” Her book, Quietly Visible: Leading with Influence and Impact as an Introverted Woman, is available to buy on Amazon.

s l i a t k c o c + g a w n i h C

BACK BY popular demand and coinciding with the month in which women are celebrated is the Manchester event presented by R.E.D Butterfly, Chinwag and Cocktails. The social evening takes place on the first Sunday of every month.


Organised by black women for black women, it gives the opportunity for guests to come together in a safe space to “heal, replenish themselves, sanctify their souls, increase their Sista circle and let their magic shine”.



To mark the second anniversary of its launch, founder Kamilah Francis will be offering a limited number of tickets at 20 per cent discount. “The theme for this event is endurance and resourcefulness because in the black community so many women suffer in silence and we want to put an end to this, which is why Chinwag and Cocktails was birthed,” said Francis. There will be Caribbean light bites available and two-for-one cocktails. Tickets are available to purchase from chinwagandcocktails.weebly.com.




Northern News


EXPERIENCE IN WORLD OF INDUSTRY: Lynden Paul Davidson has a plan to create more black business owners with TYFDSAI

Membership group to bring about more black business ownership


IS FORAY into the business world saw his company commissioned to make a cake for Prince William’s first birthday – and now 37 years later Lynden Paul Davidson is embarking on his dream to make black business ownership a reality for many. A minister of the church, former pastor and project director of a youth-inspired organisation, Lynden – who hails from Manchester – wears his many hats well. His former role as founder of Imagine Cakes unveiled what he referred to as his “naivety” about business, which resulted in the daunting experience of over-trading. “We also learnt about the barriers to black people setting up in business in the UK,” he said. Propelled by a desire to disrupt the status quo and see black businesses prosper, Lynden joined forces with trusted friends and associates in 2018, inspiring them with an idea decades in the making.

A series of consultations with the public took place at which Lynden introduced the black community to the concept of a Business Acquisition Club that will see black people “occupy their seat at the economic table”.


Thank You For Doing Something About It (TYFDSAI) a not-for-profit company, was launched last year and the concept, though unique, has been rolling and gathering moss throughout Manchester since its inception. Based in Whalley Range and overseen by a ‘Board of Guardians’ whom Lynden refers to as “professionals at the head of their game”, TYFDSAI has a range of expertise at its fingertips. “We exist to encourage businesses within the African and Caribbean community,” said Lynden. “The plan is for us to create our own independent voluntary fund, funded by our own

community who will contribute £2 a week into a communal pot. That money will be used to purchase businesses.” With a long-term goal to recruit one million members in the UK within two years and 20 million worldwide, the board is keen to keep up the momentum. More than 200 people have signed up to the club, which now has its sights set on its first business acquisition. “Our preference at the moment is for franchise businesses such as Subway. Members

will propose partnerships and will join with a minimum of three other members to become an operating partner. “TYFDSAI will provide the finance and a guidance team. We will have in our team accountants, legal people and other professionals,” he added. The businesses will then become a wholly owned subsidiary of TYFDSAI, therefore owned by its members. It enables those operational partners to start the business without risks, claims Lynden. “Our real goal isn’t profit

but employment, quality employment, with jobs that pay between £35,000 to £45,000 a year. Manchester is the fastest growing city in Europe [sic] and we are the only group who have no stake in the economic development or plan of this city.” TYFDSAI has been piquing interest with a range of free courses already, and the plan is now to expand and recruit new members with a ‘wave’. The first wave was a target of signing up 10 new members and this target doubles at each

subsequent wave. “We are appealing for all of our community to get on board with the vision,” said Lynden. “We live in a cautious environment but I’m hoping that as people get to know more about the organisation they will see that this is a very successful company. It is about something bigger than money. “We don’t want our children growing up with nothing to inherit or to look to and say ‘this belongs to our community’. We have to do something about it!”

Neurologist on a mission to cure Africa’s deadly sleeping sickness

ILLNESS: Peter Kenny’s book

A DEADLY African disease transmitted by flies may soon be cured thanks to the work of a neurologist from Scotland. Human African trypanosomiasis, more commonly known as the sleeping sickness, affects around 11,000 people living in sub-Saharan Africa. Despite being severely disabling and even fatal it is one of the most neglected tropical diseases. Neuorologist Peter Kennedy (inset right), a world authority on infectious diseases of the nervous system, has dedicated his career to finding a cure. And as the international goal to eradicate the disease in 2020 continues, Kennedy has published a new edition of the story of his inspiring work. He first learned of the scale of the problem of sleeping sickness from a colleague in 1988 and felt compelled to intervene. “He thought that maybe my expertise could do

some good,” said Kennedy. “Although things have changed now, at the time it was not very well researched. There has been huge underinvestment in this area for various reasons. “The most important thing is drug therapy, but any drug developed would have to be given free because there is no money to pay for them. Pharmaceutical companies will not put money into developing a drug that is going to be given away for free.” Early signs of the disease are similar to malaria but a blood test can reveal evidence of parasites in the blood. Other symptoms include fever, swelling, anaemia, psychosis and generally feeling unwell. In the second stage there is profound sleep disturbance, which gives the disease its name. Now part of major international efforts to increase awareness of and funding for research into sleeping

sickness, Kennedy is one of only a handful of medical doctors specialising in the disease and is dedicated to finding a cure. The third edition of his book, The Fatal Sleep, tells the story of the brave patients and hospital staff in Africa working to fight sleeping sickness, which has killed thousands of people in the last decade. “The goals of the World Health Organisation are to abolish sleeping sickness as a public health problem in 2020 and to effect the interruption of the disease transmission by 2030. These are ambitious goals but potentially they could be realised,” he added. “Based on the progress over the last decade I am much more hopeful than I was before. And at the end of this recent edition of the book I am optimistic about the prospect of treating the disease.” The Fatal Sleep: Africa’s Killer Disease That Went Undiscovered For Centuries by Peter Kennedy was published in January 2020 and is available to buy in book shops.







Let’s celebrate black women in past, present and future this month INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S Day, celebrated each year on March 8, is a day dedicated to honouring the achievements of women throughout history and all across the globe. It is typically a day for women from all different backgrounds and cultures to band together to fight for gender parity and women’s rights. This month also marks Women’s History Month. It is a month in which we can celebrate black women for who they are: the beacons of light that inspire our community to rise above challenges and leave a lasting legacy for future generations to finally achieve full equality. In this issue, we honour the black nurses who have played such an important role in shaping the NHS, the African women who are shaping the future through establishing innovative technology businesses, and the formidable females who are taking a leading role in campaigning on key issues such as the deportation of people of Caribbean heritage who have lived in this country for many years. Black women in Britain have overcome formidable


Re: Boris Johnson adviser who said black people were less intelligent than white people resigns I DON’T think Boris Johnson is actually concerned about racism as a whole, let alone within his party. He has his own agenda, which will only serve Boris. His past is chequered with one scandalous issue after another. Sacked for dishonesty, and now holds the position of prime minister. Now consider the type of advisers he would employ. Richard Cummings, via voice-online.co.uk

h t on m e f h t Letter o

barriers of discrimination and prejudice to become a visible and important presence in areas such as politics, business, the arts and sport. It is not only a man’s world anymore. Hence it is important for our community’s girls to not just realise that they can achieve whatever they want with their lives, but also to believe in their dreams. And key to this is encouragement. But while the celebrations are justified, it still leaves the unanswered question about equality and whether black women are much closer, or still have a long way to go, to full equality. In previous editions we have pointed out that the exclusion of women of colour in so many areas of national life. That exclusion still echoes today – there is still to little recognition of their talents at the top tables of business and politics, for example. And that is why we must continue to celebrate International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month. These are celebrations that keep their achievements and contributions in the limelight.


Re: Priti Patel jumps to PM’s defence after Dave calls him racist INTERESTING HOW nobody would release a comment when the No 10 adviser claimed black people had smaller brains than white people. Sean Ferguson, via Facebook


Re: Priti Patel jumps to PM’s defence after Dave calls him racist THERE IS no comment regarding this awful wom-

Re: Campaigners protest planned deportations I AM disgusted in the way the government is going about this. My thing is if they are so bad for committing so-called crimes, then why in God’s name did they not get deported after doing their time? The government has given them false hope as I am sure they had to sign in every week, so they damn well knew where they were. I’m sure most of these people have not committed any more crimes. Why are they not looking for the ones they can’t find? This is not just about them, it’s about families that will now become single parents and depending on the very same government to support them financially, as many may have to give up work due the support that has now gone. That really makes sense, doesn’t it? Vivienne Darby, via voice-online.co.uk

OUTRAGE: Protesters called for the jet to Jamaica to be grounded


INSPIRATION: Dave an. Dave black excellence at his finest. He used his platform to speak for the rest of us. Denise Bryan, via Facebook


Re: Priti Patel jumps to PM’s defence after Dave calls him racist PRITI PATEL will say everything she needs to say to get to the position she wants to get to. There is no limit to what she will say or do to get there. She is not – and has never been – relevant. Melissa Sumayya, via Facebook

Re: Dotun Adebayo lands new BBC show I’M DELIGHTED to learn that Dotun Adebayo has succeeded Rhod Sharp. I listen to Up All Night because I suffered with insomnia. The tone of Rhod’s voice almost single-handedly made the programme. I know Dotun will do a fantastic job because he has all what it takes to be a great presenter. I hope other top organisations are paying attention. Give the job to the person who is capable of delivering, regardless of who they are. All the best, Dotun. Jeannette, via voice-online.co.uk

an extra £1,000 for route to permanent residence and the government can recoup an extra £2 billion which it can use to strengthen the borders. It will be a win-win situation for both the government and the illegal migrants. Future shortages in the low skilled workforce can also be filled by these migrants. Handsen Chikowore, via letters


Re: Church of England apologises over Windrush racism I INTERVIEWED people who arrived on this ship, and some who arrived in the UK before and after the arrival

of HMT Windrush. The racism they endured to build the motherland is unbelievable. Black churches were formed as our grandparents were not welcome in white churches. Ashleigh Patricia Wright, via Facebook


Re: Church of England apologises over Windrush racism FOR FOLLOWERS of Christ they didn’t show that they followed his teachings in any way whatsoever. Remember, many that came were devout Christians but churches didn’t want new congregations. Jyll Beckford, via Facebook


AS THE UK will slam its doors on low-skilled workers on December 31, 2020, in its move to cut overall immigration by locking out migrants from Europe and elsewhere, it will make perfect sense to grant an estimated two million illegal migrants amnesty. These migrants can be given an initial two years leave to remain and when they want to become permanent residents, they can be charged

CHEQUERED PAST: Prime Minister Boris Johnson


International News


Reports reveal impact of environmental damage

By Debbie Ransome


OU MAY think environmental activists are peddling doom and gloom, but for people living on the front line of climate change, extreme weather is literally hitting them where they live. In the past couple of months, two new studies have charted the climate change issues faced by the Caribbean, from coral reef damage and its knock-on environmental effects, to children made homeless by natural disasters.


A report published by the Royal Society, called Earth’s most biodiverse ecosystems face a perfect storm, outlined the impact of climate extremes on forests and coral reefs around the tropics. Eleven specialists from eight universities in the UK, New Zealand and Brazil mapped 100 locations which had been affected by climate extremes, including hurricanes and floods, to deliver their findings. The research looked at how hurricanes and other types of natural disaster have been wreaking havoc on wildlife. It found that tropical forests had seen “a range of post-hurricane ecological consequences” as the wholesale destruction of plant life affected the animals, birds and insects that rely on them for food and shelter. Lead researcher Dr Filipe França, from the UK’s Lancaster University and Brazil’s Embrapa Amazônia Oriental, said: “Many local threats to tropical

forests and coral reefs, such as deforestation, overfishing, and pollution, reduce the diversity and functioning of these ecosystems. This in turn can make them less able to withstand or recover from extreme weather.” Another of the researchers, Lancaster University marine ecologist Dr Cassandra E Benkwitt, said: “Climate change is causing more intense and frequent storms and marine heatwaves. For coral reefs, such extreme events reduce live coral cover and cause long-lasting changes to both coral and fish communities, compounding local threats from poor water quality and overfishing.” Dr Benkwitt added that “even relatively pristine reefs” were vulnerable to both climate change and extreme weather. The report’s conclusion is that the Caribbean, and other regions like it, cannot fight such threats alone and that “only international action to decrease CO2 emissions” can reverse these trends. Its authors called for conservation initiatives to intervene in these “local disturbances”. But they warned that the rich mix of flora and fauna could not be saved for future generations without “much greater co-operation between nations”. And it gets worse. According to another recent report, extreme weather in the Caribbean has reached the point where it is actually breaking up families. The research, carried out by Unicef as part of its Child Alert series, looked at “Children uprooted in the Caribbean: how stronger hurricanes linked to a changing climate are driving child displacement”.

THE WORLD AT A GLANCE Chancellor pays out to students

The Chancellor of the University of the West Indies, Robert Bermudez, has written out a J$1.5m (£8,200) cheque to save 34 cashstrapped students. “We have brilliant people who come from every circumstance in life,” said Bermudez, an entrepreneur who has taken his Trinidad business to regional levels. “Therefore those of us who have been successful in life really owe our debt to those who are coming after us.” His personal donation was matched by the Jamaican government.

Somalia seeks food security aid

STUDY: Coral reef damage in the Caribbean is a growing concern, and children are at risk from climate change too In the period between 2014 and 2018, the research found a six-fold rise in the number of children driven from their homes by storms in the 29 Caribbean small island developing states. “The Child Alert attributes the dramatic increase in forced displacement – from 150,000 to an estimated 761,000 children – to a series of catastrophic tropical cyclones or hurricanes that hit the Caribbean region,” the report stated. It noted that “more than 400,000 children were displaced by hurricanes during 2017 alone”.


It added that “areas affected by Category 4 or 5 hurricanes have been left virtually uninhabitable”. Unicef said children needed to be put at the heart of climate change strategies and response plans. To illustrate its point, it screened a video of a young boy in the Bahamas who had been separated from his home and friends since Hurricane Dorian. “I don’t have any toys. I don’t


play with toys no more,” the boy said in Unicef’s video. The report’s author, Christopher Tidy, told the Miami Herald that the Caribbean region was “almost uniquely vulnerable” to warming temperatures. “This is causing families to split, or to separate,” he told the paper, adding: “It’s very important that more attention is brought to the implications of climate change for the Caribbean sub-region specifically.” The organisation’s executive director, Henrietta Fore, said: “This report is a stark reminder that the climate crisis is a child rights crisis. “Children in storm and floodprone nations around the world are among the most vulnerable to having their lives and rights upended. They are already feeling the impacts of climate change, so governments and the international community should act now to mitigate its most devastating consequences.” Former BBC Caribbean Service Head Debbie Ransome currently runs the website caribbeanintelligence.com.


Somalia’s federal authorities and the UN are calling for urgent humanitarian assistance to avert an acute food insecurity situation that could threaten millions. The call was made during the launch of the post-Deyr (October – December) seasonal Food Security and Nutrition Assessment. The periodic assessment is conducted twice a year by the Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit and the Famine Early Warning Systems Network. The assessment notes that up to 1.3m people in Somalia face acute food security. At the same time, more than 690,000 children below five could become acutely malnourished by the end of the year.

Jamaica firm in Canadian listing

Tree of Knowledge International Corp, which trades as TOKI, has become the first company to be cross-listed on


the Canadian Securities Exchange and the Jamaica Stock Exchange. The Canadian firm produces hemp-based cannabidiol (CBD) products in partnership with Jamaica’s burgeoning industry.

Bahamas gets post-Dorian aid

Following a Hurricane Dorian Private Sector Pledging Conference, the Bahamian government raised more than £1bn in recovery funding and services in kind. The money and services include direct aid to storm victims plus money for homebuilding and repair, renewable energy partnerships and educational assistance.

Africa steps up virus measures

African governments stepped up measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus last month. Medical teams were stationed at seaports and airports to check the temperature of travellers. In the Senegalese capital Dakar, small thermal cameras were spotted in passport control. Experts fear that if cases were to be exported to certain countries in Africa where the means of health security are limited, then large outbreaks could occur.

T&T steelband funding boost

The Trinidad & Tobago government has announced a TT$5m (£57,000) grant fund facility as an incentive to steelpan manufacturers. Trade minister Paul Gopee-Scoon said the money was aimed at helping all steelpan manufacturers and tuners.



International News

‘IT’S TIME FOR US TO LOOK FORWARD, NOT LOOK BACK’ Young Africans must embrace the fourth industrial revolution to be successful in the world of work


OUNG PEOPLE in Africa must be prepared for jobs of the future rather than jobs of the past, the president of the African Development Bank has said. Akinwumi Adesina was speaking at the launch of the Bank’s flagship African Economic Outlook. The African Economic Outlook is an annual report that provides updates and forecasts of the continent’s economic performance. The theme of the 2020 report is developing Africa’s ‘Workforce for the Future.’ According to the report, nearly two-thirds of the continent’s youths are under-educated

and ill-prepared to meet the future challenges of the global economy.


Adesina said: “Given the fast pace of change, driven by the fourth industrial revolution – from artificial intelligence to robotics, machine learning, quantum computing – Africa must invest more in re-directing and re-skilling its labour force, and especially the youth, to effectively participate.” The report also highlighted some broader issues faced by those young people who are highly educated. More than 12 million graduates enter the continent’s labour market each year, but only

three million of them get jobs, leading to rising youth unemployment levels in recent years. According to the 2020 African Economic Outlook, skill and education mismatches affect youth labour productivity indirectly through wages, job satisfaction and job searching. Highly educated African youths earn, on average, 18 per cent less than peers who work in jobs that require lower levels of education. Young people who believe they are over-skilled for jobs are 3.4 per cent less likely to be satisfied with their current jobs and, as a consequence, may be less productive. The report contained several recommendations for reversing

negative trends and creating productive and adequate workforces. These include designing national strategies for education and skills development that include young people, school drop-outs, workers in the informal economy, and in economically and socially disadvantaged groups.


In recent years, the African Development Bank has attempted to address the continent’s skills gap through targeted support to scientific centres of excellence, such as the African University of Science and Technology. It has also invested in the Kigali Institute for Science and

PRIORITIES: Akinwumi Adesina, president of the African Development Bank, wants to see more focus on science, technology, engineering and maths

Technology, which provides world-class training in ICT at postgraduate level in collaboration with the Carnegie Mellon University. Training in science, technology, engineering and mathematics is critical in overcoming the continent’s “mountain of youth unemployment”, Adesina said. Hanan Morsy, the bank’s director of macroeconomic policy, Forecasting and Research, said the fourth industrial rev-

olution offered challenges and opportunities for developing education and accelerating skills acquisition in Africa and pointed to some things that national governments could do. She said: “African countries can achieve universal primary enrolment by just improving the efficiency of education spending. Investing in education and infrastructure offers a greater growth pay-off than investing exclusively in either.”


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THE QUEEN OF TURNAROUNDS Andrea Coy knows how to take a business in distress and put it back on the path to success – from DIY to seafood

By George Ruddock


RACE KENNEDY Limited’s new head of international business, Andrea Coy, is highly regarded as the “turnaround management” specialist within the Jamaican food and finance group. Since joining the company in 2005, she has had tremendous success in fixing some of its subsidiaries and also bringing them back to profitability. Her list of achievements include Hi-Lo Food Stores, the Global Category Management Unit (GCUM) and the home and living brand Hardware & Lumber. Her success at taking businesses that are in distress and putting them back on a platform for future success within the group has led to her being appointed the CEO of GK Foods International Business with responsibility for the company’s manufacturing and distribution operations in the USA, Canada and the UK. Her portfolio responsibility will also include Europe and west Africa as the company continues its expansion into these markets, plus she will have additional responsibility for GK’s distribution opera-

tions in Latin America and the Caribbean. To emphasise the responsibility she holds within the group, the current value of the UK Caribbean food and drinks market is worth close to £99m, and Grace Foods UK lead the category with 34 per cent market share. Among the well-known Grace brands are Encona Sauces, Aloe Vera Drinks, Grace Coconut Water, Dunn’s River Jerk Seasoning, Tropical Rhythms drinks, Plantain Chips, Brunswick Seafood, Excelsior Crackers and Bigga Soda.


But while Mrs Coy takes on such a huge role in the organisation and relishes the challenges that it will bring, she lists one of her most satisfying and successful projects as the turnaround she achieved at Hardware & Lumber, the Jamaican DIY shop chain. She said: “Easily this was one of my favourite projects. For one, it was not a food business and was owned 58 per cent by Grace Kennedy. “There was a lot to do at the outset, but when I left H&L the share price moved from $3 to $9 per share, something that was recognised by the Jamaica Stock Exchange when it was

voted runner-up as the best company on the Stock Exchange in 2013. “That was the turning point for my career in Grace Kennedy, not just for the things I did but for the experiences I gained and developed in that two-year assignment between 2012 and 2014. “It gave me the kind of exposure in running a public company that none of the other subsidiaries had done.” After Grace Kennedy sold Hardware & Lumber, Mrs Coy was appointed CEO of GraceKennedy Foods Domestic, with responsibility for Hi-Lo, Grace

You spend a lot of time impacting and connecting with staff Foods & Services (GFS), World Brands and the five factories operated by the company in Jamaica, as well as continued responsibility for GCUM. Did she see herself marching into these senior roles when she first joined the group in 2005? Not really, said Mrs Coy. “I am still pinching myself

WORKING HARD: Andrea Coy, centre, with some of the women who work at GK Foods UK


sometimes. I like the fast-moving consumer goods industry. I had transitioned from being a financial-controller to the management side over the years, but what I wanted to do was to differentiate myself and after thinking hard and praying about it, I decided turnaround management was where I would differentiate myself within the industry. I like it because it allows me to really touch people.” She added: “The biggest part of turnaround management is getting the team aligned around where you are and where you need to go to fix the business. You spend a lot of time impacting, connecting and dealing with the staff, so that gives me a lot of joy.” In addition to her responsibility for the international market, Mrs Coy also has under her umbrella the innovation team, which has to respond to the changes in the food industry as consumers become more health conscious. She said: “We are well aware of the changing dynamics around better health and it’s a journey we have started on. “We have a roadmap that allows us to reduce salt and sugar from the existing portfolio, but we also have ‘better for you’ type products like coconut water and our seafood range which we have brought to the attention of consumers. “For instance, we have reduced sugar variance in our Tropical Rhythms range as well as reducing sodium in our soups and we do have plans in innovations for new products. “We also have a big focus on recruiting new consumers, not just from the mainstream population, but also the third and fourth generation Caribbean people who are not necessarily tied to the traditional food their parents brought over. “We know the challenge is there, but we are confident we have the products to get people interested.” As Grace Kennedy gets ready to celebrate its centenary


TREMENDOUS SUCCESS: Andrea Coy of Grace Kennedy Limited has returned subsidiaries back to profitability in 2022, Mrs Coy says one of the objectives of the company is to support children in school through its Grace and Staff Foundation. Mrs Coy said: “Right now we are at 500, but the plan is to send 1,000 students to school by 2022 in our milestone year. Our mandate is to impact the communities in which we do business and our corporate social responsibility is to the alleviation of hunger and the development of youth, so you will see a lot more visibility from Grace Kennedy in how we are supporting this.”


As March is Women’s History Month, Mrs Coy is extremely proud of what she has achieved in the corporate world, but says she focuses less on gender and more on what it is that she can use her office to achieve. She said: “I think I can use this office to impact people and impact lives and that would be my calling. “As we women take more responsibility in conducting ourselves in a professional way, it becomes less about gender and


more about who is the best person for the job.” In sharing her advice to young women who would like to follow in her footsteps, Mrs Coy said: “It’s working hard, do what you have to do, work diligently, be true to yourself, impact others along the way and take others with you along the journey because you can’t do it alone. “Invest in developing people, focus less on the reward, but more on the success and always maintain your professionalism in the workplace.” Mrs Coy says the woman who has inspired her most is Indra Nooyi, the chairman of PepsiCo, the famous American soft drink company. She said: “Indra did great things and her mind is absolutely amazing to me. Being in a similar industry I have followed her achievements and I have such high regards for her.” An avid Christian, Mrs Coy says she has a good work-life balance with her husband and two children and puts this down to the gems she got from reading Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In, which she would recommend to all women.


MARCH 2020



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Award-winning novelist Andrea Levy’s papers acquired by national institution


HE COMPLETE archive of award-winning novelist Andrea Levy has been acquired by the British Library. Future novels, notes, old drafts and even early rejection letters are among the papers of the writer best known for her 2004 novel Small Island, which chronicles the experiences of Windrush Generation migrants to England after the Second World War. The archive includes working drafts for her five published novels, providing an insight into her process. In a statement, the British Library said the acquisition would offer the public an “opportunity to explore Levy’s life and legacy in much greater depth”. Andrea Levy was an internationally best-selling author whose work explored her own experiences as a daughter of

Windrush Generation parents who came to Britain in the post-war period, and examines the history and connections between Britain and the Caribbean. After earning a degree in textile design and working in graphics, Levy began writing in her mid-30s and rose to global prominence with her fourth book, Small Island, in 2004.


It won the Orange Prize, the Whitbread Novel Award, Whitbread Book of the Year and the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize. Levy’s 2010 follow-up The Long Song was short-listed for the Booker Prize and won the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction. Levy’s extensive research into the history of Jamaica and her own family back-

ground is a key part of the archive, which includes audio recordings of interviews with her mother Amy Levy, which were used in the writing of Small Island. There are also short stories, digital records and Levy’s email archive. Correspondence ranges from early rejection letters to letters of support and praise from writers such as Toni Morrison, Margaret Forster, Linda Grant and Joan Bakewell. It also contains notes and drafts for unpublished and unrealised work. Included within this are ideas for future novels, such as her intended sixth novel, in which she planned to portray a marriage between a black woman and a white man. An unproduced screenplay in the collection tells the life of Mary Seacole, demonstrating the Jamaican nurse’s compassion and determination. Notably, the archive also contains a darkly comic unpublished dialogue, written without expectation that others would see it, in which Levy faces up to her imminent death from cancer. Other papers present in the archive document Levy’s commitment to issues of representation, diversity and inclusion, particularly as an executive producer on the screen adaptation of The Long Song and in other collaborations with Sir Lenny Henry, Gary

Younge and Baroness Lola Young. Zoë Wilcox, curator of contemporary performance and creative archives at the British Library said: “Andrea Levy’s voice is present throughout her papers: vivid, alive, often chivvying herself along with notes to self in red pen. “Whether writing about role models as diverse as James Baldwin and Julie Andrews, or trying to convince herself that her life was worthy of a memoir, Levy’s modesty, hu-

She would be pleased that her work is now owned by we British mour, and commitment to confronting the truth are evident throughout. “Levy was an extraordinary writer whose literary significance will be celebrated for years to come.” Wilcox added: “Her writing is witty, unfailingly human, and consistently places British-Caribbean history at the centre of our national consciousness. “We are incredibly proud that the British Library has acquired the archive for the

NOTES: Andrea Levy’s archive (inset) is in the British Library nation in accordance with Andrea’s wishes. Following a first glimpse of her papers in our 2018 exhibition Windrush: Songs in a Strange Land, this acquisition will offer researchers the opportunity to explore Levy’s life and legacy in much greater depth.”


The British Library’s oral history collections also contain Levy’s “Authors’ Lives” interview for the National Life Stories project. The full recording comprising more than 14 hours of material is available to listen to on-site at the library. Levy’s husband Bill Mayblin, said: “Late in her life it came as a surprise to Andrea that

her carefully saved boxes of notes, letters and early drafts could become something as posh-sounding as an archive. “But once convinced of it there was only one place she ever wanted that archive to go, and that was to the British Library. “Not only had the library greatly helped her research as a writer, but because much of her work examined British colonial history – a history full of omission and injustice – it seemed fitting, and somehow just, that her archive should finally find a home in a truly national institution.” He added: “She would be very pleased that through the British Library her work and her story is now owned, and valued, by we British.”

Jamaican woman appointed to top role at IMF A JAMAICAN professional is set to take a top role with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Jennifer Lester has been appointed as the organisation’s director of corporate services after having previously served as the deputy director of its corporate services and facilities department. Lester was appointed to the role after the retirement of incumbent Chris Hemus, who has worked for the IMF for over 20 years, holding a number of senior and leadership positions.

Speaking about Lester’s appointment, IMF managing director Kristalina Georgieva said: “Jennifer is widely recognised for her leadership, her strategic problem-solving and managerial skills, and her ability to engender trust amongst all parties. “She has been instrumental in transforming service delivery through modernisation and process efficiencies, while strengthening engagement with stakeholders.” The IMF consists of 189 countries working to foster global monetary

cooperation, secure financial stability and facilitate international trade.


Before joining the organisation in 1997, Lester was a legal officer at the Pan American Health Organisation/ World Health Organisation, and previously practised corporate law, international trade law and litigation as an associate in private practice with the Washington, DC office of Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton.


She is a former career officer with the Jamaican Foreign Service and served at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kingston and as minister counsellor in the Jamaican Embassy in Washington from 1985-1991. Lester received her Juris Doctor degree from Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, DC, and holds a Master of Science degree in international relations and a Bachelor of Arts degree in modern languages from the University of the West Indies.







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Supported by PART OF HISTORY: Clockwise from main, the statue due to be unveiled at Whittington Hospital; many young Caribbean nurses had to contend with racism from staff and patients (Picture: NHS ENGLAND); Jak Beula, founder of Nubian Jak Community Trust; nurses from the Caribbean and Africa played a key role in developing the NHS


Statue recognising contribution to the NHS will be unveiled on Windrush Day By Kwaku


N WINDRUSH Day, June 22, the Nubian Jak Community Trust (NJCT), an organisation that highlights the historic contributions of black and minority ethnic (BAME) people in Britain, will unveil a statue dedicated to all the Commonwealth and Windrush nurses who have worked in the NHS. It is a fact that there were black women, be they British-born, from the Caribbean or Africa, working in Britain both before the creation of the NHS on July 5, 1948 and after its launch. In recognition of the service and sacrifices made by these women – including my mother-in-law, who came from the Gold Coast (present day Ghana) in 1947 to train as a nurse, to the vast numbers that came as part of the Windrush Generation – the 7ft high by 7ft wide statue will be unveiled at Whittington Hospital in Archway, north London. The statue is in the form of a Madonna and child, representing a black nurse suckling the baby NHS.

The hospital was chosen because of the numerous African and Caribbean nurses who have worked there. The statue is the brainchild of Jak Beula, the founder and chief executive of NJCT. He says: “The reason I decided to make the nurses sculpture 7ft high and 7ft wide was to reference the seven decades of service black nurses have been making to the NHS.


“We owe so much to this pioneering generation of women. Thousands of Caribbean and African women answered the call over 70 years ago to come to the UK and support the fledging health service. “Their story is one of a struggle to overcome racism and also courage, commitment and achievement in the face of very difficult circumstances. “The country as a whole, as well as the NHS, is better for their contribution and that is why a statue honouring them is so important, because it provides a permanent reminder of their important legacy.” It’s estimated that around 40,000 nurses and midwives from around the Commonwealth answered the call from “the Mother Country” to help the fledging NHS, which was

facing problems recruiting enough staff. Many of the young women who arrived had an idealised vision of what living and working in Britain would be like. But working in the NHS during those early years was not easy for black nurses, who regularly faced hostility. Many recall patients who refused to be treated by a black person, or who would even be physically aggressive. There were hospital managers who would refuse them senior posts, because white staff didn’t want to be supervised by a black person. In time, however, the incredible patience and perseverance of these women meant that eventually they became a visible presence in major city hospitals. Over the 72-year history of the NHS, the dedication and service of BAME nurses has been exemplary. Indeed, it has been argued that without their contribution, the NHS would have floundered. The new statue will be, as far as I’m aware, only the third dedicated to a black female in a public space in London. The first is the Bronze Woman, unveiled in Stockwell, south London in 2008 and inspired by Guyanese-born educator and

The country as a whole and the NHS is better for their contribution writer Cécile Nobrega’s eponymous poem. The other is Mary Seacole’s imposing statue unveiled in 2016 by St Thomas’s Hospital. To coincide with the launch of the statue, NJCT will publish a book entitled Nursing A Nation, which will highlight some of the personal stories of Commonwealth and Windrush NHS nurses. Women such as Princess Eldoris Campbell, who successfully challenged racial discrimination on her way to becoming Bristol’s first black ward sister; Guyanese-born Daphne Steele, who is believed to have become Britain’s first black hospital matron in 1964; plus Jamaican-born Dame Karlene Davis and Ghanaian-born Cecilia Anim, who went on to head the Royal College of Midwifery and Royal College of Nursing respectively. Others who have scaled the highest rungs of the NHS exec-

utive ladder include the current chief executive and general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, Dame Professor Donna Kinnair, and Trinidadian-born Professor Jacqui Dunkley-Bent, NHS England chief midwifery officer and midwife at recent royal births.


The statue is the latest in a long line of initiatives that celebrate the role played by people of African and Caribbean people that Beula has launched. He was behind the African and Caribbean War Memorial, dubbed the Brixton Cenotaph, because of its location in the area’s Windrush Square. The memorial honours the contributions of African and Caribbean servicemen and women during the First and Second World Wars. Before launching NJCT, Beula had a wide-ranging career, having been a social worker, an actor, and a model – he was the male face of Interflora’s early ’90s advertising campaign. He has also been a singer. His 1980s band Stigma was distributed by indie label Beggars Banquet, whilst his 1990s band This Medusa was signed by Don Taylor, the former manager of Jazzie B and Bob Marley. In the late 1990s, Beula also

authored the Nubian Jak’s Book of World Facts as well as designing the Nubian Jak board game, both of which have had several editions released in Britain and across the world. This varied background has reflected itself in the range of projects that NJCT has been involved with. Bob Marley was the subject of the first NJCT plaque, which was unveiled in central London in 2006. I also worked with him on the plaque featuring the Wailers’ mainstays Marley, Bunny Wailer and Peter Tosh, which was unveiled last year in Ladbroke Grove. By the end of this year, NJCT will have unveiled more than 50 plaques across London and other parts of Britain honouring people of African Caribbean heritage in a range of fields. It is this contribution to highlighting black history that has earned Beula an honorary doctorate, and a nomination in the Community Achievement category alongside community activist Zita Holbourne and rapper and public speaker Akala in this year’s BLAC (Bright Lights Awards Ceremony), at the ILEC Conference Centre in Earl’s Court. Kwaku is a London-based history and music industry consultant.






MARCH 2020


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Kate Holgate’s young daughter beat cancer thanks to blood donors. Now she’s urging members of the black community to donate


HE MOTHER of a girl who beat stage 4 cancer is supporting the NHS campaign for more black people to try donating blood. Kaitlyn Davis was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer aged just three but has survived, thanks to treatment and blood donors. Kaitlyn, from Cheshunt in Hertfordshire, had tumours in her brain and throughout her body, including her legs, after developing a neuroblastoma in her stomach, and was given a 30 per cent chance of survival. She went on to have intensive treatment which included around 20 transfusions of blood and platelets and has been free from cancer for four years. “I would watch as my little princess turned pale,” mum Kate Holgate recalled. “Then, with a simple blood

transfusion, the life would appear back in her face. “For families like mine, I say ‘thank you’ to those that give. “She’s here today because of people we will never meet.” Kaitlyn was diagnosed from an MRI scan in late 2014 after developing symptoms including a slight limp and a high temperature, and went on to be treated at Great Ormond Street Hospital. “I was devastated and torn to bits,” said Kate. Neuroblastoma is a rare type of cancer that mostly affects babies and young children. It develops from specialised nerve cells (neuroblasts) left behind from a baby’s development in the womb. It affects around 100 children each year in the UK and is most common in children under the age of five. Kaitlyn’s treatment includ-

ed radiotherapy and high dose chemotherapy and immunotherapy. Chemotherapy damages the body’s bone marrow, which is where blood is produced. Before the high-dose chemotherapy, Kaitlyn had some of her own bone marrow removed, so that it could be transplanted back into her afterwards. “The transfusions made the world of difference,” said Kate, who is studying HR management at university. “There are no words that say how grateful I am to the people who donate blood. “They have no idea what difference it makes. “If they could see her face, going from pale to the life coming back into it… how can you thank people enough when they have put a smile back on your child’s face and helped keep her alive?”

Kaitlyn is now doing well, is still cancer-free and is in school.

GRATEFUL: Kaitlyn Davis with mum Kate Holgate; below right, Kaitlyn undergoing treatment for neuroblastoma


Kate was inspired to become a blood donor herself and discovered she has a valuable Ro-subtype, which is greatly in demand to help black people with the life-threatening blood disorder sickle cell. More and more black people are donating blood. The number of black donors has risen by 29 per cent in the past three years. However, there is still a shortage of black donors. Black blood donors are more likely to have the same blood types as black patients. The shortage of black donors means it’s harder to find blood for black patients and they are at greater risk of transfusion reactions.

An NHS Blood and Transplant spokesperson said: “We’re so grateful to all the donors who helped Kaitlyn. “We urge anyone inspired by

her story to consider donating – it’s quick, safe and easy, and you will save lives.” Register as a donor at www. blood.co.uk


People. Purpose. Passion. uk.jngroup.com




by Marcia Dixon

S ul Stirrings


URING THE more than 30 years I’ve been reporting on religious issues for The Voice, there’s been a dramatic change in the role of women in the church. When I first started writing the Soul Stirrings column, Christian women seemed to be happy to sit in the pews, attend prayer meetings and services, and were usually found working in the kitchen or supporting male ministers in an admin role. There were few female church leaders. How things have changed. Many churches now have female leaders in their pastoral teams. Increasing numbers of churches are led by women. Some, controversially, have been appointed as bishops. Last year, Rev Rose Hudson-Wilkin made history when she became the first black woman to be appointed as a Church of England bishop. There have been female bishops appointed in the UK before, in the Pentecostal church, such as Revd Daisy Bailey – who became the first female Dis-

trict overseer in The Church of God of Prophecy, one of Britain’s historic black Pentecostal churches that was built by the Windrush Generation. Women have also made inroads in other areas of the church.

for the whole gamut of issues that impact women’s lives or problems faced in the wider community. This fact has given birth to the multitude of women’s events – whether it be prayer services, breakfast events, luncheons, conferences, special and award initiatives – as well as women’s ministries.

Women and EMPOWER their role no Women’s events tend to have longer take a a focus on Christian living but they also seek to equip and emback seat in power women to run their own business, progress in their cathe church reers or establish ministries to In 2002, Bishop Esmé Beswick became the first black woman to be appointed as president of ecumenical body Churches Together in England, whilst in 2006 Rev Kate Coleman was the first black woman to be appointed as President of the Baptist Union. One key development in the past two decades has been the rise in the numbers of women’s ministries. Women have recognised that churches don’t and can’t cater

Meet some of the great Christian women who are making a mark... Pastor Marjorie Esomowei

Marjorie co-pastors Triumphant Church International with her husband, Pastor Clem, and is the founder of Wisdom for Women International, a ministry that runs personal development workshops, distributes uniforms to school children in Nigeria and hosts the Wise Women Awards that recognises the contribution of Christian women in the church and the wider world. The next awards event takes place on March 21. For more, see wisewomenawards.org.

Pastor Yvonne Brooks

serve others. Women, their role within the church and the issues that are unique to their gender no longer take a back seat in the church. In the 21st Century, Christian women are busy making a mark within the church, whether as leaders, heads of ministries or taking their faith with them in the worlds of business, work and/or charity and making a difference. Long may they continue to do so.

Jerusalem Yvonne serves as a pastor at New Bishop by led am, ingh Birm Church in Aston, ks. Broo in Melv AcadePastor Yvonne is founder of Esther’s covers that se cour ent lopm deve onal my, a pers on hes touc and life all aspects of a woman’s , care skin , hips ions relat nce, fina issues such as faith and er style and fashion, the power of pray and much more. and it is Demand for the course is spreading h Africa Sout , aica Jam now taught in America, e. and Zimbabw . For more, see esthersacademy.co.uk

Pastor Lorraine Jones

Following the fatal stabbing of her son Dwayne, Pastor Lorraine Jones became an anti-knife crime campaigner. She also took over Dwaynamics, the boxing club that her son founded before his death. Pastor Lorraine is regularly invited to speak in media about gun and knife crime and has seen Dwaynamics grow in influence since she took over. For more, see dsfcic.co.uk.

The Rt Rev Bishop Rose Hudson-Wilkin

Tobi Olujinmi

Tobi is a young woman who is also a preacher, wife and mother. She is also the founder of WTalk, an innovative web-based media platform aimed at young Christian women aged 18-35. It features topical articles about life, faith, work and culture, a podcast and specially made programmes for the site, which can be found at thewtalk.com.

Rose is the first black woman to be ordained as a bishop within the Church of England. Prior to her appointment as bishop in 2019, Rev Rose occupied a number of pivotal positions within the Church of England, which included serving as Chaplain to the Queen and Chaplin to the Speaker of the House of Commons. She also served as vicar of two churches in East London.





n o i t a Destin y e n k c Ha

INSIDE: 路 Interview with Cllr Bramble, Deputy Mayor 路 Windrush compensation scheme session 路 A history of diverse communities 路 CVS working for a fairer borough


Destination Hackney



HE COUNCIL is set to hold a free advice and support session for residents affected by the Windrush scandal. The event will be facilitated by Cllr Carole Williams, the Council’s Windrush lead. Independent immigration lawyer Martin Forde QC and staff from the Citizens Advice Bureau will also be on hand to offer support and advice. Both Cllr Williams and Martin Forde have been instrumental in ensuring the Windrush scandal is addressed and the Home Office are held to account to provide compensation.


The event is open to anyone affected by the scandal, with experts on hand to offer free, confidential advice on how to apply to the Government’s compensation scheme. Community groups and those who may be in a position to help older family members are particularly encouraged to attend. The drop-in session will offer practical information on the Windrush Compensation Scheme. A video, group discus-

VIEWS: Cllr Carole Williams sions and one-to-one sessions will be hosted throughout the evening and leaflets will be provided to take home. Cllr Carole Williams said: “Many will have lost confidence in the Home Office but I urge anyone who has been affected by the Windrush scandal to come along so they can find out whether they’re entitled to a compensation payment. I’m aware that offering compensation will not undo the harm done, but there are people from non-government organisations ready to listen and help


with applications.” Compensation is available for those who have suffered because they couldn’t easily demonstrate their right to live in the UK. This includes loss of employment, loss of housing, impact education, non-access to banking, wrongful deportation and immigration fees incurred, plus any impact on ‘normal daily life’ and mental health. There is no limit to the amount of money that could be paid out.


The scheme is open to anyone from a Commonwealth country, regardless of nationality, who arrived before 1 January 1973, and those with a ‘right of abode’ or ‘settled status’ who arrived in the UK before 31 December 1988. Compensation is also open to family members such as children, grandchildren and carers. To meet people who can help in a relaxed, confidential and safe space, come to the free drop-in session March 2, Hackney Museum, 1 Reading Lane, Hackney, London E8 1GQ 4:00 pm - 7:00pm.

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s ckney Vegan


Caribbean Vegan Food 25 Sandringham Road, Dalston, London E8 2LP Tel. 020 7254 0023 Open Monday to Saturday between 12noon and 9pm serving an all day menu covering lunch, weekend brunch, dinner and is equally convenient for grazers.


Cllr Anntoinette Bramble is deputy mayor and Cabinet member for education, young people and children’s social care. She talks to The Voice about all things Hackney… empowered within my role to have the opportunity to effect real change. Seeing our work become inspirational to European Councils and being able to place Hackney amidst European innovators is particularly rewarding. In 2017, our Improving The Outcomes For Young Black Men scheme was a finalist in the Innovation In Politics Award and was hailed as one of the best of 80 political projects in Europe. Our 20182022 strategy addresses the disproportionate outcomes for young black men. We want to demonstrate that there are many black boys, families and young black men that are providing positive role models by focusing on examples of success, identifying potential, increasing their visibility and tackling inequalities. PROUD: Anntoinette Bramble By Rodney Hinds How proud are you to be representing the people of Hackney/ London Fields? As someone who has lived in Hackney all their life, I’m incredibly proud to represent the borough where I grew up. Hackney is home to such a diverse community and I take pride in being part of this. As Councillor for London

Fields I am passionate about maintaining and celebrating Hackney’s uniqueness - its rich diversity, thriving businesses and green spaces. What are amongst the pros and cons of being deputy mayor? Being Deputy Mayor is a privilege. I’m privy to the acute needs of our community. While it is a challenging time to be in Local Government, I feel

What makes Hackney and its people so unique? Anyone who’s been to Hackney knows how multicultural it is and how open and welcoming we are to anyone who wants to call us home. It makes for a real sense of community pride. From our Windrush Generations Festival, Black History Season, to the lighting of the menorah in the Town Hall square we relish and acknowledge the benefit of sharing each other’s cultures. People in Hackney have a real connection to the place we live . Our ‘I Love Hackney’ branding is worn everywhere

- not just within the borough! Hackney also has a vibrant creative sector. What are amongst your priorities as Cabinet member for education, young people and children’s social care? As a former acting assistant head teacher for a primary school, this role is very close to my heart. I loved working with children and miss seeing children every day, however being deputy mayor gives me an opportunity to impact the lives of young people on an even broader scale. In 2019 we devised the Hackney Schools Group Board, on the back of our schools for everyone consultation and discussions with Councillors, schools, governors, parents and residents. The board has an independent chair, representatives from schools across the borough, elected members as well as independent experts, to provide influence to school system and improvement in Hackney. It will build on school collaboration and a series of panels with look at specific areas including achievement, professional development and innovation, as well as support for vulnerable young people. Also Children’s Social Care provision continues to remain a priority for us. We are coming to the end of the learning from the Contextual Safeguarding pilot and plan on embedding our learning into everyday practise.

I’m also incredibly proud of how engaged our young people are and our Young Futures Commission is a shining example of that. We delivered the largest consultation undertaken with over 2,400 young people aged between 10-25 years olds taking part. The commission connects young people with councillors, heads of services and other partners, so we can truly listen to them and improve the lived experience of young people in Hackney. What does the future hold for the borough? We’re aware that the next five years of Tory government will present its challenges but we are ready to stand up and fight for the people in our community and continue to lobby central government for the funding we need. The year ahead is already looking bright - Discover Young Hackney will evolve from a six-month festival to a year round project of opportunities for young people in the arts, and we’re about to announce who’ll be commissioned to create a permanent artwork honoring the Windrush generation. Despite the financial challenging times in Local Government where we have lost 60p in every £1 that used to spend by Central Government, we remain aspirational and are working tirelessly to deliver on a very ambitious manifesto for our community.


Destination Hackney

A HISTORY OF DIVERSE COMMUNITIES come from Black and Minority Ethnic groups with the largest group (approximately 20%) being Black or Black British. 36% the population are White British and 16% are “other White.” Hackney has one the largest groups of Charedi Jewish people in Europe who predominately live in the north east of the borough and represent 7% of the borough’s overall population. At least 4.5% of Hackney’s residents are Turkish and are mainly concentrated in the South, East and Central parts of the borough. At least 89 different languages are spoken in the borough.

Migration from the Caribbean


ISTORICALLY HACKNEY has welcomed people from around the world and inward migration can be traced back to the 17th century with the ar-

rival of immigrants such as the French Huguenots. There are well established Caribbean, Turkish

and Kurdish, Vietnamese and Orthodox Jewish communities as well as newer communities of people from African countries and Eastern Europe. The 2011 Census estimates Hackney’s population to be 246,300 which is expected to grow to 316,500 by 2041. Around 40% of the population

Hackney’s Caribbean community is very diverse, compared to some other areas in the UK. People from Antigua and Jamaica have settled in Stoke Newington, St Lucians and Dominicans mainly moved into the Clapton neighbourhoods in the 1960s and 1970s and Hackney was also a main settlement for refugee Montserratians displaced after the eruption of the Soufrière Hills volcano in 1995. At the time of the 1981 census, 26,653 people (around 15% of Hackney’s population) lived in households headed by somebody born in the Caribbean.


By 2001, black or black British – Caribbean residents made up around 10% (20,887 people) of Hackney’s population and in 2011 8% (19,168 people) described themselves as black/black British Caribbean.

SET MEALS Any rice + 2 meat or 1 fish + Plantain or beans




Any type of solid + Any 2 meat or 1piece of fish


£ 6.00

Yam + 3 meat or 2 fish or 1 meat & 1 fish

chopped plum tomatoes, red bell peppers, chopped red onion

£ 7.00




Grounded melon seeds chili peppers, onions tomatoes


Spinach cooked with tomatoes and small cuts of fried dish


£ 8.00


The proportion of children and young adults in Hackney is likely to change little between now and 2041. In contrast, the working age population (aged 16-64) is projected to rise by over 45,000 over the next 25 years. The 65+ age group is also projected to rise both in terms of numbers and the proportion of the population, particularly after 2021.

Lightly season chopped okra boiled with water



Beans + 2 meat or 1 fish + plantain

Ground dry ogbono seeds water and palm oil

£ 7.00



A purée made from Molokia leaves

Beans + 3 meat or 2 fish or 1 meat & 1 fish + plantain

£ 9.00


plain boild white rice


Rice, tomatoes and tomato paste, onions


BEEF, SHAKI, ABODFUKU, CHICKEN,COWFOOT £1 each when bought seperately


Yam made into dough eaten alongside stews


Dough from dried yam blended into a flour,


Dough made from dried cassava flour,


*Each generally mixed with Red stew



Hackney is a relatively young borough with 25% of its population under 20 and a further 23% aged between 20-29 years old. People aged over 55 make up 18% of the population.


£ 6.00

This ones a secret, which has been handed down for generations best served with white rice

Yam + 2 meat or 1 fish

Age and sex


Any rice + 3 meat or 2 fish or 1 meat & 1 fish + Plantain or beans £ 8.00


People from African countries began arriving in significant numbers during the 1960s and then again in the 1980s from a number of different countries including Nigeria, Ghana, Congo, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Uganda. Initially they settled in the Dalston area but now live throughout the borough. In 1991, 6.7% of the population identified themselves as Black/Black British – African and this rose to 11.4% by 2011.

Seasoned rice cooked with veg & prawns



Migration from African countries


RICE MEALS *add extra plantain or beans 50p MEDIUM RICE MEAL

There has been a significant growth in Hackney residents with a mixed white and black Caribbean heritage, along with other mixed groups. Mixed white and black Caribbean residents now account for two per cent of Hackney’s population, reflecting a high degree of integration.

yams made with onions, ground crayfish, pepper, stock cubes, palm oil and the smoked fish.



Very SPICY!!! soup, not for faint hearted









Destination Hackney


Dolls with gratitude Dolls with Style esent Dolls that repr the Caribbean

Boutique sells organic clothing and hand crafted dolls

don store are shipped over from abroad and Monero designs the clothes and paints each and every doll. “Creating clothes for these dolls can take anywhere from 5-15 minutes, and I love that I have that skill,” she says. The clothes are made from donated fabrics and Monero has produced 26 dolls in national dress to represent each Caribbean island.

By Leah Sinclair


LACK DOLLS were a rarity for many growing up. Plagued with images of stick thin, perfectly coiffed, blonde-haired barbies, many young black girls internalised this imagery and too wished they looked like the most famous figurine that represented girlhood for generations. Years later and we are beginning to see a shift. Barbies are branching out and celebrating women of different nationalities – as seen by their latest release of International Women’s Day Barbies modelled after biracial model Adwoa Aboah and actress Yara Shahidi – and we are seeing a plethora of blackowned doll brands popping up all over the world, and creating representational dolls that black girls can embrace. One of the women gaining in on this growing market is Sandra Monero, founder of Monero Kids Boutique. The independent Dalston-based store, specialises in selling organic clothing and hand-crafted black dolls. “It all started when I was selling dolls in the back of my car at a car boot sale,” recalls Monero. “My friend put the seed in my mind and said since I’m selling dolls, why don’t I make the clothes for them and add something special to it.” Monero’s exciting business venture followed a turbulent year. After losing her mother, father and older brother, she described the process of making the dolls clothes and selling them as therapeutic. “It was such a challenging time for me and me getting the dolls was healing for me as I learned to cope through the challenges and things I’ve experienced. So by making the dolls clothes myself, I began to feel better and the dolls ended

INSPIRED: Sandra Monero up being inspired by the women who made me who I am today.” Two of the main dolls Monero sells are inspired by inspirational women in her life, including her mother, her friend Yinka, and her love of Harley Davidson. “I have a dark-skinned doll with an afro called Yinka named after a friend of mine. She really had my back when I was going through things. “The second doll who is lighter skinned with an afro is named Ellie and she is inspired after my mum and the one with the long hair, her name is Harley D, and she’s named after the Harley Davidson bike because I love motorbikes myself,” says the business owner.


Creativity was something that was always innate to Monero. Growing up with dyslexia, the Saint Lucian found creative ways to showcase her talent. “Growing up in my time, I just felt I was dumb – I didn’t think I could do anything,” she admits. “So I was more creative by just making things up and that allowed me to grow and develop. It’s great to be in a position now to be doing something I enjoy and using my creative skill.” The dolls sold at the east Lon-

Monero Kids boutique 26a Balls Pond Road, N1 4AU 0207 812 9966 @monero_kids_boutique @monerodolls


Having an entire store dedicated to selling black dolls is quite rare in London, and it’s an opportunity that Monero doesn’t take for granted. “I have such a diverse clientele and it’s great,” she says. “I get guys who come into the store to buy things for their girlfriends – I even had this white gentleman who came from west London and he bought six dolls. I asked why, and he said he liked collecting them and he thought they were so beautiful. “This store really is a rarity. Yes, Barbie creates black dolls, but it’s not a boutique were this black dolls are in the shop window, up front – not hidden in the back.” Monero says that while having the store is not easy, she would advise anyone to go for their dreams if it’s something they’re passionate about. “It’s important to just not give up – it’s going to happen if you want it. “None of it is easy and you have to work hard. I had two jobs and I was still doing the car boot sale whilst in the process of acquiring the store. But if you want it enough you will get it. All you’ve got to do is believe in yourself.”

An Inspiring Educational Tour for Aspiring Young Innovators Easter Age 14-16 Summer Age 16-18 October Half-Term Age 14-16

14th to 17th April 2020

London, Bletchley Park

Wk 1 - 27th July to 1st Aug London, Bletchley Park, Wk 2 - 5th Aug to 10th Aug Cambridge, Paris Open to International Students Wk 1 - 20th Oct to 23rd Oct London, Bletchley Park Wk 2 - 27th Oct to 30th Oct

This innovative Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths (STEM) and Sports programme for aspiring innovators brings together young people to discover future possibilities. This exciting programme will provide unique experiences and lasting memories for young people on their journey to becoming tomorrows STEM innovators. • London Locations and visits • Cambridge Science Park and Bletchley Park • Iconic Apple Workshop and Imperial College tour • Paris (summer tour) • Plus much more

Visit our website to book a tour and check for available dates www.stemtoursuk.com T: +44 208 501 6888 E: info@stemtoursuk.com @stemtoursuk International Partners: Stem Tours GH, Timeless Touch, Ghana T: +233262548562 E: Timelesstouchint@gmail.com

Discovering your future possibilities


Destination Hackney HDS10345

“Having a good support network around you, in addition to the support you get from your social worker, is important and helpful when applying as a single foster carer.” Steve We need more foster carers in Hackney. You can apply to foster as a single person or as a couple. There are no restrictions on sexuality, ethnicity or religious backgrounds.

Hackney needs more foster carers Call: 0800 0730 418 Visit: www.hackney.gov.uk/fostering Email: fostering.recruitment@hackney.gov.uk



IRCLE COLLECTIVE puts purpose into streetwear. We are a charity and social enterprise that transforms the lives of London’s youth by helping them find permanent, life-changing work. Our Dalston and Lewisham stores stock the latest street-wear brands and local designer collections and are an inspiring training ground for young people. Through hands on work experience and employability coaching, we empower the youth of today, equipping them with the confidence and skills needed to reach their full potential in the workforce. Every young person who wants a job should be able to get one…and we’re on a mission to make this happen. Each piece purchased at one of our stores supports a young person into work and helps to #breakthecircle of unemployment in your community.

THE SITUATION In the UK, there are nearly 800,000 youths either unemployed or unedu-

cated, of which 15% are based in London. Youth unemployment can lead to many negative socio-economic consequences including poor mental health, drug and alcohol abuse, crime and poverty. Despite wanting to work, many young people face barriers in finding employment, such as limited or no qualifications, disabilities, history of offending and no work-place experi-

ence. They find themselves trapped in a vicious circle: they don’t have enough experience to get a job, but how can we expect them to develop that experience without having one?

HOW WE HELP We recognise that young people have a whole lot of enthusiasm, energy and


spirit to offer. Through our ‘Back Your Future’ programme, we harness that energy by equipping them with employable skills, providing one on one mentoring sessions and connecting them with future employers. They also gain first-hand work experience in our two streetwear stores in Hackney and Lewisham. We work all year around to provide a young-person centred programme that delivers results. We work closely with corporates, small businesses and recruiters to open doors, create opportunities and make lifelong connections. We’re passionate about helping our trainees find financial independence – everything we do is with this in mind.

OUR IMPACT Over 70% of our trainees secure a job after completing the programme, meaning for every £1 we spend, we generate £6.78 of social value. We are extremely proud of Circle Collective’s alumni, with over 400 youth now in paid employment - Our goal is make that number 500 by the



end of 2020.

CASE STUDY: JENNY’S STORY Jenny joined Circle Collective at a dark time in her life, she was suffering with severe depression and at times felt like giving up. After being referred to Circle by her careers advisor she received help with her CV and attended workshops on confidence building and interview skills. During shifts in our street-wear stores, Jenny learnt about customer service and retail sales. We soon discovered Jenny’s interest in fashion and so she became part of our development team for Circle Collectives new clothing line, the Purpose Collection and assisted on fashion photoshoots – a role Jenny found she really enjoyed. Jenny now has a job working as a Sales Assistant at Hawes and Curtis and recently received the Gary Francis Award for brilliant young people who achieve against the odds.




Destination Hackney

Road Market is one of the most vibrant in East London, offering a unique combination of international flavours from around the world. With the fusion of Afro-Caribbean, Asian and European goods, there is something there for everyone.


Ridley Road market


IDLEY ROAD has been home to this market in the heart of Dalston since the end of 1880s having started with about 20 stalls it now playing an important part in Hackney’s history

and heritage with over 150 stalls offering a diverse range of quality goods at very competitive prices. Opposite Dalston Kingsland Train Station and beside Kingsland Shopping Centre, Ridley

Visitors to Ridley Road Market, centred in Dalston town centre, are greeted with a warm and pleasant atmosphere, the energetic sound of reggae music and the natural blend of cultures. Apart from serving fruit and vegetables to generations of families, the market also offers a wide range of household goods. LOCATION: Ridley Road, London, E8 2NP. Opposite Dalston Kingsland train station off Kingsland High Street

Hackney’s got style:

Celebrating the history and impact of African and Caribbean fashion and hair Open until March 21 THIS EXHIBITION shares and celebrates the history and impact of African and Caribbean style and hair through the eyes of Hackney people. Visitors can explore how the clothes we wear and how we

style our hair has expressed and impacted identity since the 1950s, and what this means for us today. Discover the local entrepreneurs, designers and fashionistas who have changed British

culture in the borough and beyond. Please note, school groups will be visiting the exhibition Tuesday to Friday, 9.30am to 3pm during October and November. Other visitors are still welcome, but may prefer to visit at quieter times. LOCATION: Hackney Museum Ground Floor Technology and Learning Centre 1 Reading Lane, London E8 1GQ


Now working with young people in all of SE London, Hackney and Tower Hamlets! Lewisham


www.circlecollective.org Registered Charity No. 1145291


Destination Hackney



ACKNEY CVS is the umbrella body for the local voluntary and community

sector. Their mission is to tackle inequality and drive social change. CVS want to make Hackney a fairer place because they believe everyone should have the best start in life and the best opportunities to succeed regardless of their background, race, social class, gender, sexuality or disability. CVS projects and services support people and communities that experience disadvantage, discrimination and isolation including migrants and refugees, black, Asian and minority ethnic communities, LQBTQ+ communities, young people and older people. For over 20 years they have supported the voluntary and community sector and local communities to be at

CONTRIBUTION: Adiaha Antigha the heart of providing solutions to Hackney’s problems. The CVS awards evening is a special night in their calendar – chiefly because all the nominees are so deserving of recognition. Over the years many individuals and groups have received an award including theatre groups, gardening projects, groups supporting disabled people, LGBT+ projects, projects on HIV and sexual health, older people’s

projects and young people and youth projects, to name but a few. The organisation make two awards each year. One of those is the Adiaha Antigha Community Achievement Award. Held each year to celebrate the work, impact and diversity of Hackney’s voluntary and community sector. They are held in memory of the founder and former director of Hackney CVS – Adiaha Antigha - who made a huge contribution to our organisation’s success and to the local voluntary and community sector.


Kevin Brazant, a freelance youth worker, who won the award for supporting young black men at the event’s 20th anniversary said: “I am feeling a real sense of achievement and pride. It is a real honour and privilege to carry Adiaha’s name knowing what

Sistah Space

his knowledge and expertise helped to shape the Borough’s approach to tackling youth crime by ensuring a focus on giving young people opportunities to achieve their best.


KEY: Gary Francis a powerful figure she was in the community.” The second award is the Gary Francis Young Achiever Award held each year to recognise local young people who achieve against the odds. Gary was Hackney CVS’ youth programmes manager. Over six years he secured nearly £2m for projects working with disadvantaged young people. He was a key figure in the local community and

Sadly, Gary passed away in 2012 – and CVS have been holding the annual young people’s awards each year since 2012 to remember his achievements and to recognise and celebrate some amazing local young people. The following comment from Janette Collins, manager of The Crib Youth Project, sums up the value of his Gary’s work and why the awards are so valued: “I would like everyone to take a leaf out of Gary’s book and carry on the fight to encourage those that are disengaged from society to reach for the stars.

AWARDS This year’s awards night was held at Hackney Town Hall and the winners were: Best outreach work to engage new people: Sadie Alleyne, Shoreditch Trust Best work to challenge discrimination: Parity project, ELBA, Best work bringing communities together and working across different communities in Hackney: Faisal Pirbhai, Apex Learning Hub Best work to empower disabled people: Laura Prikken, Shoreditch Trust The Gary Francis young achievers were: Daniel Ocitti, Mona Ait Jakane, Jade Walcott, Kyarna Morris, Montell Pemberton, Shenique Bass, David Smith. Visit: www.hcvs.org.uk t: 020 7923 1962 e: reception@hcvs.org.uk


Tackle inequality & drive social change We support Hackney’s voluntary & community organisations RAISING AWARENESS ABOUT DOMESTIC ABUSE IN THE AFRICAN AND CARIBBEAN HERITAGE COMMUNITY.


After the vicious murder of Valerie Forde and her toddler daughter by her ex-partner in 2014. Sistah Space has responded to the need to establish a specialist organisation for women and girls of African heritage affected by DV and other forms of abuse.

www.hcvs.org.uk t: 020 7923 1962 reception@hcvs.org.uk

HOW CAN YOU HELP? We constantly need donations of new

Registered charity, number 1069736

Email: sistahspace1@gmail.com Twitter: SistahSpace@sistah_space





Lifestyle Make time for Toni Morrison at the ICA p42

Salem Wynter on handling hair loss p45

IN HER OWN QUEENDOM ShezAr speaks to Lifestyle

This Is BrukOut – Shenseea p57


Celebrating W men

Supported by

Celebrating Toni Morrison BY JOEL CAMPBELL


HE INSTITUTE of Contemporary Arts will present a three-day convening this month celebrating the life and work of the novelist, essayist and Nobel laureate in literature, Toni Morrison. Morrison was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1993. She was the author of many novels, including The Bluest Eye (1970), Beloved (1987), Paradise (1997) and Love (2003). She received a Pulitzer Prize for her fiction, the US National Book Critics Circle’s Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honour in the United States. The convening revisits Morrison’s 1986 talk at the ICA alongside screenings, talks, performances and study groups. A testament to Morri-

son’s influence on the arts – including literature, film, painting and music – the convening explores the continuing impact of Morrison’s work on generations of cultural luminaries. Morrison is widely celebrated for a body of work which chronicled African-American experience and identity. Over five decades, Morrison authored 11 novels covering stories from the 17th century to the present day, as well as children’s books and essay collections. She was also the first African-American woman to win the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1993. Inspired by Five Poems (2002), a collection of poems written by Morrison with illustrations by artist Kara Walker, the convening seeks to create a space for existing and new Morrison readers to engage in a close study of her work.

The programme includes: Volume I Ethics of Care, Restorative Justice and Healing in Toni Morrison’s Late Fiction (March 12, 7pm, ICA Cinema) Farah Jasmine Griffin, Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University, opens the convening with a keynote lecture on the ethics of care, healing and restorative justice in Morrison’s late fiction. Volume II Five Poems for Toni Morrison (March 13, 7pm, ICA Theatre) In this interesting event, poets and writers – including Victoria Adukwei Bulley, Leo Hermitt and Kareem Reid – are invited to write and perform an original piece in response to Morrison’s work.

sioned artists’ film by DJ Lynnée Denise (March 13, 8.30pm, ICA Theatre) DJ scholar Lynnée Denise, a visiting artist at Stanford University’s Institute of Diversity in the Arts, presents a newly commissioned artists’ film project whose primary source material is the archival video recording of Morrison’s Guardian talk at the ICA in 1986. This is followed by a Q&A between Lynnée Denise and ICA curator of learning Nydia A Swaby. DJ Set by DJ Lynnée Denise (March 13, 10pm, ICA Sake Bar) DJ Lynnée Denise plays a DJ set to follow the screening of her commissioned remix of Morrison’s 1986 Guardian talk at the ICA. Volume IV Study groups with The Black

Curriculum & Lola Okolosie (March 14, 1pm & 3.30pm, ICA Studio) “Volume IV” comprises study groups led by writer, schoolteacher and winner of the Novel Studio scholarship from City University, Lola Okolosie, and the Black Curriculum, an organisation that seeks to address the lack of taught black British history within schools. The Black Curriculum study group, aimed at students aged 11–16, focuses on Morrison’s 1992 novel, Jazz, to consider the connections to music and photography in Morrison’s writing. Meanwhile, Lola Okolosie’s study group offers a critical reading of Morrison’s 1970 novel The Bluest Eye, drawing upon contemporary references. Volume V Screening of Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am and Q&A with Farah

Jasmine Griffin, Avery Gordon and Ellah P Wakatama (March 14, 6pm, ICA Cinema) The convening concludes with a screening of the 2019 documentary Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am. The film provides an intimate look at Morrison’s life through interviews with Morrison’s colleagues and friends, among them Oprah Winfrey, Sonia Sanchez and Farah Jasmine Griffin. A Q&A with Ellah P Wakatama, Farah Jasmine Griffin and Avery Gordon, Professor of Sociology at the University of California, follows the screening. The Pieces I Am features artworks by significant African-American visual artists including Mickalene Thomas (who created the collage that opens the film), Faith Ringgold, Elizabeth Catlett, Kerry James Marshall, and Romare Bearden.

Volume III Screening of a newly commisAFRICA FASHION Week London is one of the global showcases of African designs – incorporating catwalk, exhibition and an informative business forum into the agenda. As well as attracting a global audience of public, media and industry professionals, AFWL shows are one the highlights of the annual fashion calendar. This year’s event will be the 10th edition. Expect exciting catwalk shows, shopping until you drop, celebrities, African food and an inspiring talks forum. AFWL 2020 will also see the launch of a graduate fashion and design day. Universities and higher education colleges will be invited to register their students of fashion, hair and beauty, architecture and habitat design, art, photography, and journalism to take part in the student catwalk and exhibition day. It will take place at Freemasons’ Hall, 60 Great Queen Street, London (WC2B 5AZ) from noon. August 6 - Graduate Fashion & Design Showcase August 7 - AFWL2020 Friday Showcase, Exhibition & Business Fashion Talks Forum August 8 - AFWL2020 Saturday Showcase, Exhibition & Business Fashion Talks Forum More information at africafashionweeklondonuk.com.

CULTURAL IMPACT: The American writer Toni Morrison won the Pulitzer and Nobel prizes





MARCH 2020


Celebrating W men


Intense images reveal reality of queer African lives in exhibition at Tate Modern BY JOEL CAMPBELL


ATE MODERN will present the first major UK survey of South African visual activist Zanele Muholi starting next month. Muholi came to prominence in the early 2000s with photographs that told the stories of black lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer and intersex lives in South Africa. Some 260 photographs will be brought together to present the full breadth of Muholi’s career to date, from their very first body of work Only Half the Picture, to their on-going series Somnyama Ngonyama.


These works challenge dominant ideologies and representations, presenting the participants in their photographs as fellow human beings bravely existing in the face of prejudice, intolerance and often violence. During the 1990s, South Africa underwent major social and political changes. While the country’s 1996 post-apartheid constitution was the first in the world to outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation, the LGBTQIA+ community remains a target for violence and prejudice to this day. In the early series Only Half the Picture, Muholi aimed to depict the complexities of gender and sexuality

for the individuals of the queer community. The collection includes moments of love and intimacy as well as intense images alluding to traumatic events in the life of the participants. Muholi also began an ongoing visual archive of portraits, Faces and Phases, which commemorates and celebrates black lesbians, trans gender persons and gender non-conforming individuals.

Each participant looks directly at the camera, challenging the viewer to hold their gaze, while individual testimonies capture their stories. The images and testimonies form a living and growing archive of this community in South Africa and beyond. The exhibition will include several other key series of works, including Brave Beauties, which celebrates empowered non-binary and trans women,

many of whom have won Miss Gay Beauty pageants, and Being, a series of tender images of couples which challenge stereotypes and taboos. Images like Melissa Mbambo, Durban also attempt to reclaim public spaces for black and queer communities, such as a beach in Durban which was racially segregated during apartheid. Within these series, Muholi tells collective as well as individual stories.


They challenge preconceived notions of deviance and victimhood, encourage viewers to address their own misconceptions, and create a shared sense of understanding and solidarity. More recently, Muholi has begun an acclaimed series of self-portraits entitled Somnyama Ngonyama (‘Hail the Dark Lioness’ in Zulu). Turning the camera on themselves, the artist adopts different poses, characters and archetypes to address issues of race and representation. From scouring pads and latex gloves to rubber tires and cable ties, everyday materials are transformed into politically loaded props and costumes. The resulting images explore themes of labour, racism, Eurocentrism and sexual politics, often commenting on events in South Africa’s history and Muholi’s experiences as a South African black queer person traveling abroad. By enhancing

the contrast in the photographs, Muholi also emphasises the darkness of their skin tone, reclaiming their blackness with pride and re-asserting its beauty. Zanele Muholi is co-curated by Yasufumi Nakamori, senior curator and Sarah Allen, assistant curator with Kerryn Greenberg, head of international collection exhibitions, Tate. The exhibition, which opens on April 29, is organised by Tate Modern in collaboration with the Maison Européenne de la Photographie in Paris, Gropius Bau in Berlin and Bildmuseet at Umeå University. It will be accompanied by a catalogue, talks and events in the gallery.

RECLAIMING SPACES: Above, Qiniso, The Sails, Durban; below, Bona, Charlottesville; left, Ntozakhe II, Parktown; main image Julile I, Parktown, Johannesburg


Celebrating W men

Supported by


Innovative, experimental artist Sonia Boyce chosen to represent best of UK in global art exhibition BY JOEL CAMPBELL


HE BRITISH Council has announced that artist Sonia Boyce OBE will represent Great Britain at the 59th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, presenting a major solo exhibition of new work, running May to November 2021. Boyce came to prominence as a key figure in the burgeoning black-British art scene of the early 1980s. She was one of the youngest artists of her generation to have her work acquired by Tate, featuring deeply personal reflections on race, class and gender in Britain. Boyce is known for her highly innovative and experimental approach to art-making, using performance, drawing, print, photography, and audio-visual elements in her work. Since the 1990s, her practice has become increasingly improvisational and collaborative, inviting a broad cross-section of participants to come together and speak, sing or move in relation to the past and the present. At the heart of Boyce’s work is an empowering exploration of gestures and events, with an underlying focus on the personal and political subjectivities behind them. On accepting the British Council commission, Boyce commented: “You could have knocked me down with a feather when I got the call to tell me I had been chosen to represent Britain at the Venice Bi-

ennale 2021 – it was like a bolt out of the blue. Obviously, I’m extremely honoured, excited – and nervous. I’m eager to start this creative journey, exploring the experience with others who agree to work with me along the way.” Boyce has taken part in numerous solo and group exhibitions, both internationally and in the UK. Notable recent exhibitions have included solo shows at Manchester Art Gallery (2018), The Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA), London (2017), Villa Arson, Nice (2016), and group exhibitions including Prospect 4, New Orleans (2017), and All the World’s Futures at the Venice Biennale in 2015. Her current solo exhibition, In the Castle of My Skin, at Eastside Projects, Birmingham will travel to Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art later this year. And 2020 will also see the completion of a major public art commission by Boyce for the Elizabeth Line Crossrail project in London. In 2016, Boyce was elected a Royal Academician, and in the same year received a Paul Hamlyn Artist Award. In 2019, she received an OBE for services to art in the Queen’s New Year Honours List, as well as an honorary doctorate from the Royal College of Art. Boyce is currently a professor at University of the Arts London, where she holds the inaugural chair in Black Art & Design. A panel of visual art specialists from across the UK selected her for Biennale Arte 2021. The committee members included

Above, In the Castle of My Skin 2, 2020 with Anna Barham, Lindiwe Matshikiza, Harold Offeh, Flora Parrott, Luc Pheles, Alberta Whittle – and (MIMA Collection) Francis Alÿs, Lynn Chadwick, Lucy Harvey, Andrew Logan, Jacqueline Poncelet, Bridget Riley, Martin Smith Plywood structure, wallpapers, objects, videos, drawings and prints © Sonia Boyce. All Rights Reserved, DACS/Artimage 2020. Photo: Stuart Whipps. Inset below, Paper Tiger Whisky Soap Theatre (Dada Nice), 2016 Villa Arson, Nice. Nine-channel HD video installation with wallpaper © Sonia Boyce. All Rights Reserved, DACS/Artimage 2020. Inset left, Sonia Boyce as photographed by Paul Cochrane (courtesy of UAL, 2013).

Emma Dexter, British Council director visual arts, commissioner of the British Pavilion and chair of the British Pavilion selection committee. She said: “The British Council is thrilled to announce that Sonia Boyce has been commissioned to represent the UK at the Biennale Arte 2021. We are eagerly anticipating her exhibition, where collaboration, improvisation and dialogue will undoubtedly play a key role. “Boyce’s work raises important questions about the nature of creativity, questioning who makes art, how ideas are formed, and the nature of authorship. At such a pivotal moment in the UK’s history, the committee has chosen an artist whose work embodies inclusiveness, generosity, experimentation and the importance of working together.” Nicholas Thornton, head of fine art at Amgueddfa Cymru (National Museum Wales), added: “Sonia Boyce is an artist who has built her career outside of the established ‘centres’ of the art world, and places collaboration and a participatory way of working at the centre of her practice. It will be particularly exciting to see how this open-ended approach will activate the historic spaces of the British Pavilion and connect with audiences in Venice in new ways.” The British Council has been responsible for the British Pavilion at La Biennale di Venezia since 1937, showcasing the best of the UK’s artists, architects, designers and curators.


YOU SHOULD rush to catch the brilliant production of The High Table by Temi Wilkey. An epic family drama played out between the heavens and Earth, The High Table is the hilarious and heartbreaking debut play from Wilkey, which opened at the Bush Theatre last month. Those based in the Midlands need not worry about missing out as the show transfers to Birmingham Repertory Theatre from March 25. It’s all about Tara’s perfect Nigerian wedding to her girl-


friend Leah – until it’s suddenly derailed when her parents refuse to attend. High above London, suspended between the stars, three of Tara’s ancestors are jolted from their eternal rest. Can these representatives of generations past keep the family together? And will Tara’s decision ever get their blessing? Directed by Daniel Bailey, The High Table presents a story many will connect with. It is performed until March


21 at 7.30pm, with Wednesday and Saturday matinees at 2.30pm.

EPIC: Jumoké Fashola plays Yetunde


MARCH 2020


Celebrating W men

‘We’re stuck in a cycle of bad hair care practices’ BY MAXINE HARRISON


ALEM WYNTER is the founder of natural hair care brand Root2Tip. Lifestyle got the chance to interview her after the launch of her British black/mixed women’s hair loss survey. Lifestyle: When did you start Root2Tip and what influenced you to start the brand? Salem Wynter: I started Root2Tip in around 2008, for myself essentially. I suffered with a scalp condition called seborrheic dermatitis. This led to a portion of my hair at the front breaking off. The things my doctors prescribed me weren’t really conducive for afro or curly hair textures. They were very heavy in alcohols and chemicals. My hair got so brittle and dry that I vowed to try find something natural to help regrow my hair. So, I started Root2Tip to regrow my hair back from this. My daughter was also a toddler and she had very dry scalp, dry hair, eczema and six food allergies. L: Has anyone else close to you suffered with hair loss? SW: My mother has also experienced hair loss. She was actually the guinea pig for one of my products, the Root Energizer. That product was the first in the UK, to my knowledge,

dedicated to regrowing our hair through natural ingredients, using scientifically proven essential oils and herbal extracts that would improve the growth rate by increasing blood flow to the roots. L: Why did you want to create the hair loss survey, for women with afro and mixed heritage? SW: I wanted to get a picture of hair loss for black/mixed women and girls. I also wanted to look at the type of products people use and cross-relate them to what could be causing it. I want to offer some solutions based on the survey results. We

“In the black community, we often fail to see our child’s hair potential for the sake of a nice hairstyle” need to try to overcome the taboo of hair loss for the next generation. L: What experiences of hair loss have you seen in your experience as a hair care expert? SW: Ninety per cent of hair loss

in the black community, particularly girls and women, is self-induced via incorrect self-practices. It’s often caused by things that have been in our community for years. For example, tight braiding and cornrows. I’ve literally seen traction alopecia on small children. It’s awful. On a Hairducation trip to France with my brand, I met a mother whose mixed-race daughter was about two-and-ahalf, and her scalp was red raw. Her hair was in these tiny elastic bands that were all bunched together. The poor girl’s scalp hairline had already receded. I advised the mum, who thought her daughter had bad hair, to take it out. This often starts the cycle of low self-esteem and lack of confidence. L: What tips do you have to help prevent hair loss? SW: I advocate SSS – soft scalp styling, especially for babies and children. It doesn’t matter if the hair is a little messy if it is going to grow better. When Blue Ivy’s hair was labelled as ‘unkempt’, I applauded that, because at least her hair wasn’t in tight hairstyles. It could grow. In the black community, we often fail to see our child’s hair potential because of tugging at it for the sake of a nice hairstyle. There needs to be a change of mindset. L: Why is hair loss such a problem within the black community? SW: We lack hairducation – this is a term I trademarked years ago from my first Hairduction workshop in 2008. It affects the black community because we don’t know much about our hair. We’ve been taught for many years myths about our hair. For example, that dirt makes your hair grow; which is an absolute fallacy. The follicles that are based in your scalp, if blocked

SUFFERED: Salem Wynter founded her hair care range Root2Tip (inset below right) after caring for her daughter’s dry scalp (inset below left)

with gunk, does not make your hair grow to its potential. So, what tends to happen is our children follow a cycle of bad hair practices, as they haven’t been taught any different. We need hairducation to teach these young girls in schools exactly what to do. L: What are the names of hair loss conditions mainly affecting the black community? SW: The main ones are traction alopecia, alopecia areata, and CCCA (central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia). CCCA is attributed to black women alone. L: Where do you plan on taking the hair loss survey? SW: As far as I can. To a national scale through the media. Unless we speak about hair loss, nothing is going to be solved. L: Why is hairducation important? SW: It’s extremely important because I think when a young girl or child is aware of the way her hair responds, she is not going to be swayed by society’s perceptions of what is beautiful.

We launched Curl Camp – a mini-fest; the only one in Europe for afro hair and curls. We taught young girls through workshops how to care for their hair. A lot of the girls went home to show their parents how to detangle and that it shouldn’t be painful. If it’s painful, that’s wrong. L: Do you have any other upcoming events? SW: We are relaunching our Hairducation Academy Live this autumn. It was first launched seven years ago and had over 1000 people attending. We talk about hair loss, hair care, and more! It’s for every-

body. Once you lift the lid on afro hair, there is so much you can learn. If you are a woman or girl with hair of mixed or afro descent, you can fill out the Root2tIP hair loss survey via this QR code:




The perfect romantic retreat

Enjoy a private break with luxury amenities for two in a quiet Hertfordshire village BY JOEL CAMPBELL


O YOU messed up Valentine’s Day and your partner is not letting you live it down. Lifestyle has got a little something for you to consider... We’ve unearthed a hidden gem of a retreat located in the picturesque village of Cottered in Hertfordshire. That’s right, Hertfordshire. Ideal for couples choosing to get away for a few days to unwind, Bethnal&Bec is a fantastic destination.

This romantic bolthole consists of two units within a converted stable block, each self-contained with its own private garden, complete with a hot tub offering views over, and access to, an acre of wildflower-filled paddock.


Even though it enjoys a beautiful rural location, Bethnal&Bec is easily accessible by car, being located between the A1 and A10, or just a 20-minute drive from Stevenage train station. For those who may have secured nuptials in the area at the popular Milling Barn, The Barn at Alswick, The Priory or Vanstone Park, Bethnal&Bec is the perfect choice to relax and escape to. The studios are self-catering, ensuring that guests do not need to interact with anyone else during their stay. A breakfast hamper is

included and contains all you need to rustle up a full English in the morning. The kitchens have a fully stocked pantry and there are dine-in options which include “Pimp My Pizza”, a steak pack, gourmet burgers and a barbecue pack. For those who don’t want to cook for themselves, there is the choice of either enjoying one of the delicious locally cooked meals available in the freezer, or – for the ultimate dining experience – you can have your own personal chef, who will attend your room, bringing a preset menu, serving and clearing away. Bethnal&Bec offers all the luxury facilities of a five-star hotel: underfloor heating, Google Nest control, iPad with environment control, Netflix-loaded TVs and luxurious en-suite bathrooms with rainforest shower and Aromatherapy Associates products. In addition, there is an inroom roll-top bath, an electrical-

GREAT FACILITIES: Bethnal&Bec boasts plush interiors, relaxing baths and an outdoor hot tub ly controlled cinema screen and vinyl record player with wide choice of music to choose from. Local beauty and massage therapists can even provide inroom treatments including mas-

sage, facials, manicures and pedicures. Prices start from £128 a night. Those that sign up to the Bethnal&Bec VIP club at

bethnalandbec.com will be entered into a twice-yearly random draw to win a free stay worth over £500 and will be informed of exclusive offers, late deals and competitions.

MARCH 2020



Health & Beauty





YPERPIGMENTATION IS one of the major skin concerns expressed by women of colour. Uneven skin tone, acne scarring, malasma and dark circles are a few of the problems that can occur. Many spend thousands of pounds trying to perfect their skin, to no avail. Lifestyle caught up with pigmentation specialist Dr Vanita Rattan to discuss the most common mistakes women of colour make when trying to treat hyperpigmentation. Dr Rattan is the only pigmentation specialist for darker skin tones worldwide, after qualifying

from University College London Medical School in 2008 with two degrees under her belt – one in Medicine (MBBS) and the other a Physiology and Pharmacology (BSc) degree. Upon leaving university, Dr Rattan made it her mission to come up with a safe and effective treatment for hyperpigmentation. By no means an easy feat, Dr Rattan spent years coming up with a safe and effective treatment for hyperpigmentation.

What is hyperpigmentation?

All skin types can become in-

BY JOEL CAMPBELL NEW RESEARCH has revealed that UK mums are at breaking point, with insufficient support in coping with the changes that come with having a new baby. A huge 70 per cent of new and expectant mums surveyed by The Baby Show said they experienced some sort of mental health problem during or after pregnancy. The most common was anxiety, suffered by over a third (36 per cent), the baby blues (18 per cent) and post-natal depression (12 per cent). Of the 1,000 new and expectant mums asked, 89 per cent think the Government needs to

flamed, however with dark skin types, when the inflamed skin begins to heal, the healing process can result in an increased production of melanin leading to hyperpigmentation. This can affect skin on the face or body and usually shows up as dark patches or small concentrated spots (inset below left). Hyperpigmentation is one of the biggest skin concerns amongst ethnic groups. Pigmentation is caused by an overproduction of pigment, known as melanin, which can darken the skin. Although it can affect anyone, this condition is more common among certain ethnicities such as Asian, Mediterranean, African, or Latino. Hyperpigmentation can affect any part of the body including the face, hands, and neck. Treating hyperpigmentation may be one of the hardest skin concerns to effectively treat. Most of the procedures availa-

invest more money into helping new parents with their mental health and nearly a quarter said they needed to do it as a matter of urgency. When it comes to help, rather than the professionals, new mums who suffered turned to family, according to 51 per cent of those who answered, with the second option being their GP or midwife (30 per cent). Nearly two-thirds (63 per cent) of new mums said their self-esteem changed for the worse when they became a parent, but one in 10 said they got more confident as they took on their new role. The Baby Show, which is the UK’s biggest pregnancy and parenting event, finishes at the London ExCeL on Sunday, March 1. For more, see thebabyshow.co.uk/excel.

SPECIALISED TREATMENT: The Hyperpigmentation Clinic specifically helps with darker skin ble are specifically designed for white skin tones. The risk with darker skin is that it is much easier to burn when using classic treatments such as laser, hydroquinone, glycolic and TCA peels, which were designed for lighter pigmentation in Caucasian skin. As a result, skin can become inflamed, producing more melanin during the healing process, worsening pigmentation in ethnic skin. This is where most people go wrong when trying to correct skin issues. These procedures can cause pigmentation to rebound, worsening the appearance.

The Clinic

The Hyperpigmentation Clinic, run by Dr Rattan, specialises in treating the root cause. They use a unique Mandelic-based formulation that effectively tackles darker, more stubborn pigmentation that does not burn the skin or have any adverse reactions. The use

of tyrosinase Inhibitors treats pigmentation by blocking the production of melanin, which can lead to hyperpigmentation.

The Process

1. The skin is primed with a high-strength Vitamin A cream to give even penetration before treatment. 2. The peel mask is applied by an aesthetician in-clinic, packed with the highest strength Tyrosinase inhibitors designed for ethnic skin. 3. The post care Tyrosinase-inhibiting cream continues to calm down melanocytes and bring them back to normal. 4. Results are usually seen from 10-12 weeks after treatment.


Dr Rattan has launched

her own set of sunglasses (inset) to help protect from harmful UV rays and to combat the effects of the sun. The oversized, stylish design provides 100 per cent UV protection to cheekbones, temples and the area around the eyes. If you suffer from malasma it will help to reverse the early signs and reduce dark circles. These are also great for maintaining post cosmetic treatment results. It is often believed that those with darker skin tones do not need to wear sunscreen, but this is not true. Exposure to the sun can cause a whole host of other problems including hyperpigmentation so it is important to wear it at all times. One great buy is the Sunforgettable brushon sunscreen (inset left). For more information, see thehyperpigmentationclinic. com, check out @thehyperpigmentationclinic on Instagram, look up Dr Vanita Rattan on YouTube or call 0207 754 9189.

Follow Chantelle on Instagram: @Chantelle_Kimberley, on Twitter: @Chantelle_k1m, or email chantellekimberley14@gmail.com


FEBRUARY 13-19, 2020 • 5

MARCH 2020





Cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason on encouraging black classical musicians and his dream collaboration BY ALANNAH FRANCIS


OST PEOPLE know him as the cellist who performed at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, but Sheku Kanneh-Mason is musical royalty in his own right. In 2016 Kanneh-Mason became the first black musician to win the BBC Young Musician competition, and at just 20 years old, his career milestones in the past three years alone have surpassed what others achieve in a lifetime. His first album, Inspiration, reached number 11 in the UK charts and topped the classical music chart, and he’s improved on an already incredible success with his second, Elgar, which went in at number eight in January. In doing so, he’s the first cellist to ever have a top 10 album in the official charts. He’s also the recipient of two Classic Brit awards and an MBE. Before Kanneh-Mason added yet another string of successes to his bow, Lifestyle sat down with him at Wigmore Hall, one of his favourite venues to perform in, to talk about his music, family and fame. Kanneh-Mason is currently married to his music. A student at the Royal Academy of Music, he practices four to five hours a day, and on top of that there are rehearsals, and other types of practice such as “listening to music and thinking about music”. While his talent is unquestionable, it is his dedication to his craft that has also made him a phenomenon. It is evident that he eats,

sleeps and breathes music – but he’s conscious of maintaining balance as well. “It’s not like the music is a separate part, it’s just a part of my life and everything kind of feeds into that,” he says. “I would never want my life to be balanced such that I don’t have time to do the normal things. Because that also would have an impact on my music, I feel, because again the music is about real-life emotions and if you can’t experience them then what am I saying with my music? I don’t know.”

HELLO, CELLO: Sheku Kanneh-Mason rose to prominence at the royal wedding in 2018



Despite achieving so much, in a very public way at a very young age, Kanneh-Mason is unflinchingly modest. He hasn’t let success go to his head. He still gets the bus and Tube even when management offers to send a car, staff from his label Decca Classics say; he brought his own packed lunch when recording Elgar at the iconic Abbey Road Studios, and he finds performing to children the most rewarding. One of seven, Kanneh-Mason lights up when he talks about his siblings and the joy of coming from a musical family. Isata, the eldest of the Kanneh-Masons, plays the piano; his brother Braimah plays the violin; while sisters Konya and Aminata play both violin and piano; and Jeneba and the youngest, Mariatu, play both cello and piano. “Being from such a big family where we all share a love of music is really, really inspiring and just a lot of fun,” Kanneh-Mason says. While Kanneh-Mason has an abundant source of inspiration through his siblings, and because of the rarity of a high-pro-

file black classical musician, he has become a beacon for young black performers in an industry where they are under-represented. “Seeing someone who looks like you doing something to a high level can often be the thing that inspires you the most,” he said. “And for me, I guess I had my siblings and I saw them and they inspired me. “I think it’s one thing having that inspiration and being interested and I think combined with that you need the support from people around you – and I have very supportive parents. “They gave me the opportunity to watch concerts and have music lessons from when I was very, very young and because they really believed in what this music can do.” Kanneh-Mason is acutely aware that his experience isn’t emblematic of the majority of black musicians or those on low incomes, and is passionate about effecting change. In 2017, he doDEDICATION TO HIS CRAFT: Kanneh-Mason with conductor Simon Rattle nated £3,000 to PICTURE: DOMINIC NICHOLLS his former school,

Trinity Catholic in Nottingham, after it was revealed that cello lessons might be terminated. The donation was matched by his record label, providing tuition for 10 pupils. “It’s also the access to the education,” Kanneh-Mason says. “Often having music lessons can be expensive and therefore excludes certain people and of course it shouldn’t and I think it needs to be invested in, because what you get from having music lessons is the enjoyment of music – and that in itself is a wonderful thing.” He’d like to see more input from the industry and schemes specifically for black musicians. And he has personally benefited from one particular collective that focuses on providing a platform for classical musicians from black and other ethnic minority backgrounds. “Chineke! Orchestra was so inspiring for me because I was then suddenly surrounded by musicians and hearing their stories and being able to directly relate to them in a way I hadn’t been able to before,” Kanneh-Mason reveals. The collective’s impact is resulting in not only the diversifying of instrumentalists but also classical music audiences. It’s something that Kanneh-Mason has observed through his own performances,

too: “I have noticed, certainly recently, the positive change in the audiences who’ve come to my concerts, particularly in terms of the age group being younger and way more diversity. “And it shows that you just need that link – you and the music – to be able to relate to it. Because the music itself doesn’t discriminate, but I think the perception of it, because of the lack of diversity, can make people feel excluded.”


His own true musical heroes are those within the classical music world, renowned cellist Steven Isserlis is among them, and legends like Bob Marley, whose hit No Woman, No Cry got the cello treatment on Kanneh-Mason’s first album. But he also admires the passion and honesty Stormzy emanates through his music. The grime artist has previously performed with the Chineke!, Europe’s first majority black and minority ethnic orchestra, and recently expressed a desire to perform his latest album – Heavy is the Head – with a live orchestra. So, could a Sheku-Stormzy collaboration be on the cards? “If he asked me, I would be there,” Kanneh-Mason says. “I would definitely really, really enjoy that and I think the ideas

and music that would come from that could be something really special.” He added: “He [Stormzy] did a concert with Chineke!…I wasn’t part of it, I was away for that. I would have loved to do that… [maybe] next time.” Kanneh-Mason’s talents and ever-rising profile are opening up a plethora of opportunities and taking him around the world, but one of his favourite places to visit – Antigua – is in many ways close to home. His father, Stuart, is from the Caribbean island and the family as a whole returns annually. “We go every year to perform and do a bit of teaching and also just have a holiday, but that’s my favourite place to go because it is beautiful,” Kanneh-Mason says. “Seeing the place where my grandparents grew up and performing there really is moving in a way that’s hard to explain.” He’s not yet been to Africa but playing on the continent and visiting is on his wishlist. “I’ve never been to Sierra Leone and I would love to go… My mum [Kadiatu, who was born in Sierra Leone] will definitely take us at some point,” he says. With his career continuing to crescendo, his music may take him there sooner than he thinks. The album Elgar is out now.


Young Voices

Junior geniuses

How one initiative has been inspiring the technical minds of tomorrow since 2004 BY RODNEY HINDS


ENERATING GENIUS aims to inspire, motivate and support students from disadvantaged backgrounds to pursue Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects at school and to ultimately consider careers in these fields. Since 2004, the organisation has supported over 450 state-school educated students from BAME and low-income households into STEM degrees at top universities and careers with leading companies in STEM. The Junior Genius programme provides Year 11 students with inspiring STEM activities, university visits and skills development sessions

that inspire them to study STEM A-levels. The Uni Genius programme provides Year 12 and Year 13 students with work experience, university admissions support, STEM masterclasses and Dragon’s Den-styled challenge days that increase awareness of opportunities in STEM and gives the guidance necessary to pursue careers in STEM.


Alumni Genius is a pool of talented STEM geniuses who have progressed through the earlier programmes, providing scholarships, STEM internships and further support to ensure that graduates are motivated and well prepared to enter the world of STEM. In 2019 alone, Generating Genius awarded more than £100,000 of scholarships through its generous donors.

SUCCESS STORIES Simeon Balson: software engineer at Growth Street Simeon (inset) was in the first cohort of Caribbean boys in 2004’s Generating Genius programme. He attended a summer residential at the University of the West Indies STEM department, and later studied physics at Imperial College He was the first in his family to attend university, the only black student in the Physics department during his undergrad and achieved A grades at A-level. He has retrained as a software engineer and attended a Generating Genius-organised internship with Google. Why did he join Generating Genius? “I knew it would give me exposure to higher education and the professional


world. There was no one within my family network who had been to university nor had a professional job. As such, there was no one in my immediate circle who could provide me with guidance or insights into the working world of the city.” What were some of the most useful opportunities you had with Generating Genius? “The summer work experiences at Google and Shell as well as visiting some of the top universities in the country. Through Generating Genius, I developed what I consider my strongest soft skill to date, presentation skills. Generating Genius gave me the opportunity to develop this skill through giving talks in front of big audiences at some of world’s largest companies.”



How Generating Genius helps In 2004, the nation had given up on London’s young and poor talent. There was no belief that students from the most disadvantaged backgrounds could be successful in some of the toughest jobs. Tony Sewell, founder of Generating Genius knew that although students faced challenges due to their race and other socioeconomic factors, if they were given the right attention, he could generate and nurture the genius, pushing them into the toughest jobs in STEM. In summer 2004, he took 10 boys to a rigorous skills-based University summer school at the STEM Institute at the University of West Indies, and the rest is history. Generating Genius has been working for 15 years to ensure that talented and able students from BAME backgrounds are positioned to excel in STEM careers.


MARCH 2020


Young Voices

Guardian angels of Project HALO offering scholarships to support university study

HELP: Funke Karim, Tobi Karim, Bristol student Dalton, UCL student Samuel, Nottingham student Temi, and Kola Karim

LAST SEPTEMBER, Project H.A.L.O, a family foundation created by Funke and Kola Karim, began its partnership with Generating Genius. Three A-level students from the UniGenius programme (aged 16-18) were chosen to receive scholarships of £15,000 to £25,000, and one student receiving a £5,000 bursary through an intensive selection process after receiving offers to study STEM degrees at Russell Group universities in August 2019. Explaining why she and her husband set up the scholarship, Funke said: “Project H.A.L.O was founded to formalise the various areas in which, as a family, we support through finances, time and intellectual contribution. “It is a family foundation that began in Nigeria to assist other organisations working with the less opportune and the disenfranchised. In the UK, Project H.A.L.O hopes to transform the lives of BAME youth through as-

sistance in education and training programmes.” She adds: “As a Nigerian, giving back is part of our culture, even if it’s just in the extended family sphere. As a Christian, I believe that I am a channel through whom God can trans-

“As a Nigerian, giving back is part of our culture – and as a Christian I’m a channel for God to help others” form lives and to whom much is given, much more is expected.” The cost associated with studying for a degree can impact both the decisions higher education entrants make with regards to their course of study

and how well they are likely to do in their degrees, as a result of taking on paid work to support themselves financially. BAME students are less likely to attend higher-tariff universities or achieve a first-class degree than white students.


Across all subjects, 72 per cent of white students who entered higher education with A-level grades of BBB gained a first or upper second-class degree. This compares with 56 per cent for Asian students, and 53 per cent for black students entering with the same A-level grades. This is where Generating Genius comes in. Temi, who is studying chemical engineering at the University of Nottingham, describes the scholarship opportunity as “very, very useful” as it has taken “a lot of pressure off” her financially. Not having to look for a job has allowed Temi to focus on

her education a lot more, which helps her to “stand out” among students who may have to split their time between work and study. Temi has been part of the Generating Genius programme since she was 13 years old. “Generating Genius will give you opportunities to learn about the different degrees that you have out there, the different courses and different paths that people have taken,” Temi says. “My main benefit from Generating Genius was that it just allows you to see what’s out there in the working world and connects you from school to the working world.” Generating Genius has nurtured over 450 BAME students to go on to study STEM degrees and proceed into careers in the field. Students’ aspirations are raised to pursuing STEM careers through hosting workshops and masterclasses, partnering with big brands for work experience and offering support with university applications.

The NHS reminds people to speak to their community pharmacist about minor health concerns for quick and convenient clinical advice The NHS ‘Help Us, Help You’ Pharmacy Advice campaign to raise awareness that community pharmacists are qualified healthcare professionals who can offer expert clinical advice for a range of minor illnesses. But what are some of the facts about pharmacists? Community pharmacist, Olutayo Arikawe answered our questions and shared some facts. What does the role of the community pharmacist include? • Clinically advising people on the treatment of minor health concerns such as coughs, colds, itchy eyes, earaches, sore throats, tummy troubles, and aches and pains • Checking prescriptions for safety, appropriateness, cost effectiveness and supervising dispensing of medicines • Answering questions and providing support to patients with their medicines • Ensuring people take their medicines safely • Explaining to patients how to take new medicines • Providing other pharmacy services such as flu vaccinations What sorts of health concerns can pharmacists provide advice on? Pharmacists offer clinical advice and over-the-counter medicines to effectively and safely manage a range of minor illnesses such as coughs, colds, sore throats, earaches, itchy eyes, tummy troubles, aches and pains and many more. What training do pharmacists have? Every pharmacist trains for five years in the use of medicines before they qualify, and is also trained in managing minor

illnesses and providing health and wellbeing advice to help people stay well. What if I visit a pharmacist but need futher medical help? Pharmacists are qualified healthcare professionals and can consult on a range of minor illnesses. If symptoms suggest it’s something more serious, pharmacists have the right clinical training to ensure people get the help they need immediately and can refer patients to a GP or A&E where necessary. Can I speak to pharmacy staff in private? Yes, pharmacies across the country have confidential consultation rooms where you can request to talk to a member of the pharmacy team in private. Do I need an appointment? No appointment needed. Plus most people live within easy reach of a pharmacy and many pharmacies offer extended opening hours in the morning and at the weekend - so it’s quick and convenient option for minor health concerns. By getting minor health concerns seen to at your local pharmacy and following the expert advice of pharmacists, you can help the NHS help you stay well, prevent an illness getting worse, take the best course of action, and get well again sooner. GET IT SEEN TO

52 | THE VOICE MARCH, 2020




ueenology is the women’s empowerment movement that has swept America and is now coming to London, England. The architects of this movement are empowerment speaker and author R.C. Blakes and his wife Lisa Blakes. They have a major presence and following on social media and YouTube. His YouTube installments on Queenology have resonated with women around the world. His most famous upload being, Seven Things A Queen Conscious Woman Never Does With A Man has nearly one million views.


Lisa Blakes

The Queenology message consists of THE FIVE TENETS OF A QUEEN CONSCIOUS WOMAN, as taught by R.C. Blakes. These tenets derive from his book- Queenology. R.C. approaches this message to women from the perspective of a father figure or big brother. He educates a generation of women on how to succeed in a male dominated, misogynistic society. The concept of Queen consciousness relates to a woman being equipped to own her self-esteem. It

also insulates her emotionally from the flood of self-debasing lies the world constantly promotes to women. Queenology-London is happening on Friday March 27 & Saturday March 28, 2020. VIP Friday will consist of dinner with R. C. and Lisa, Q&A, selfies, Queenology packets and book signing. Saturday will consist of the four hour, Queenology Intensive covering the five tenets and book signing. • Register at: www.rcblakes.com MARCH 27&28 Location Hilton London Canary Wharf South Quay, Marshall Wall London E14 9SH UNITED KINGOM • Register for Saturday only: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/ queenology-london-saturday -only-tickets-85595296837 • Register for Both days: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/ queenology-londontickets-84185355665

R.C. Blakes

MARCH 2020





Sex Education star Ncuti learned from his character, how he copes with fame and why representation matters

‘I’M IN IT QUITE A LOT’: Ncuti Gatwa (also inset below) has been delighted to play the role of Eric, the gay, drag-loving son of two African immigrants, in the Netflix series Sex Education



CUTI GATWA’S Eric – the character he plays in Netflix’s Sex Education – is easy to fall in

love with. Fans of the show had even before its second season was released last month, and several students at Moordale High, the fictional school that’s the nucleus of all the series’ drama, aren’t far behind. Gatwa, 27, who hails from Rwanda and Scotland, is attracted to the character for some of the same reasons that have made his character a fan favourite. “He represents so many different intersections and is really funny as well and drives his own story, and isn’t a sidekick,” Gatwa tells The Voice. Eric Effiong is the gay, drag-loving son of two immigrant parents from Ghana and Nigeria. He is also a best friend to the show’s main character Otis, who starts an unofficial sex clinic at his secondary school,

using insights from his sex therapist mother Jean’s work – and the internet. But Eric is more than just Otis’s best friend. He is a powerful force on an exciting trajectory of his own making. His courage in being his true self, regardless of what others think of him – only temporarily blighted after being the victim of a homophobic attack in the first season – has made him a powerful figure of representation for many.


“There’s a lot of obstacles set up against him and he’s still really happy and that’s strength right there,” says Gatwa. “I was really excited to be able to play a character like that – who portrays strength in a way that we don’t see often. He’s taught me a lot about sticking up for myself and not apologising for myself and not being too much of a people pleaser.” The role is one with incredible range. Eric’s arc of self-love in season one has a triumphant

end but there are heartbreaking bumps along the way, and Gatwa’s ability to be incredibly sincere in these moments draws you in. In season two, a more self-assured Eric comes into his own even more and deals with other kinds of conflict. On the flip side, Gatwa’s comedic timing and humour, which often features him delivering lines with an African accent, is pretty perfect. As a result, Eric is thoroughly refreshing and real. But despite all of this, Gatwa did have some initial reservations. He says: “I had hesitations as [regards] the handling of the issues that Eric goes through, how would that be on set. Like, when the cameras are off, how do these things go?” His concerns, while understandable, quickly dissipated because of how the subject matter was treated by the cast and crew. “They’ve been really great. For example, I love that the writers would call me… they just

want to make sure that things are accurate in terms of the home life, especially the religious side of Eric’s character,” he adds. With a minister for a dad, Gatwa is well positioned to advise on authenticity. While he’s without a doubt one of the series’ breakout stars, Gatwa wasn’t at all prepared for how big the Netflix show was about to make him. “I didn’t realise how big a character Eric was until I watched,” Gatwa says. “I was like, ‘oh my God, I’m in it quite a lot and then I was like, ‘wow’. “That’s when I started to get a sense they really wanted Eric to be at the, kind of, front of this story and so I was like, that’s good, because representation matters.” The thought of being in the public eye was at first a little scary for Gatwa and it is still something he is getting used to, if such a thing is possible, especially when it comes to certain fan encounters. “It’s like a weird thing to get my head around. Like, getting spotted and asked for selfies

when you’re at the urinal isn’t always the most appropriate time. “I’ll be like, ‘that’s actually not really appropriate, sir. Have you washed your hands?’ Those types of things are difficult to deal with.”


But not all interactions with strangers have been as odd as that. “I’ll be at my gym in Tottenham and the bruddas will come up to me, like, ‘Oh, you’re my favourite character in Sex Education’,” he says. “I love that because I just think, ‘you rock with the gay boy in heels and gold lipstick. Where you come from that isn’t something that’s supposed to happen’ – and yet it has through the power of representation, so we need to keep doing it.” With the increasing progress that is being made when it comes to the exciting opportunities for black actors, especially with production companies such as Netflix celebrating, creating and providing a platform for more inclusive content, it is no surprise that Gatwa is par-

ticularly passionate about them getting their dues. “I think that the work needs to continue in terms of continuing to tell stories from a fresh perspective, telling new narratives and pushing the narratives and pushing boundaries. We keep doing that, we keep having proper representation and we make it a priority,” he says. “What annoys me is when people are like, ‘oh, isn’t diversity just about ticking boxes and quotas and all this stuff’ and I just think to myself well, the thing is, the playing fields were never even anyway. “They weren’t even before so if it’s ticking boxes at this point I think that that’s fine because we need to even [out] the playing field. It’s not been even before so we need to keep doing that – and representation helps educate as well.” He said he knew he “had to come with receipts” when playing Eric, given how well written the character is. Viewers will no doubt attest he’s done just that. Sex Education is available to watch on Netflix now.


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‘EVERYTHING HAS ITS Singer ShezAr talks about her talented family, being BY JOEL CAMPBELL


F YOU saw ShezAr sing on The Voice UK, you will already be aware of her prodigious talent. If you haven’t seen her sing, google that or – if you’re local – pass through the Young Vic this month to catch the Londoner and her team performing magic with their vocals. This journalist is lucky enough to have been following ShezAr for a number of years after a chance meeting at an event I was hosting five years ago. The bubbly singer is talent personified and following her involvement on grime artist and rapper Ghetts’ latest album, released last year, things seem to be on the up. I caught up with ShezAr in between her hectic schedule to find out how life was treating her, where her career is going and why it has taken so long for her to receive a bit of shine. Joel Campbell: The first time I was exposed to your talent I was absolutely blown away, everyone in the room was. It made me wonder where you have been? Why didn’t I know about you already? It’s taken some time, ShezAr, but people are now beginning to recognise you – how does that feel at this moment in your career? ShezAr: The feeling is great! I know it’s taken a while to reach this place of certainty; however everything has its time and this time is mine. I can feel the buzz and the excitement, which makes me nervous but raring to go all at once.

PURE HEART AND SOUL: ShezAr has been impressing with her musical talent for years now, but as the star, also inset right, prepares to bring her Soul Sirens show to the Young Vic, inset below right, Lifestyle asked how she’s found becoming the success story she deserves to be; inset below left, the logo for Queendom Entertainment, one of the many examples of her multi-talented family’s hard work

JC: We had a chat that night about persevering and staying the course, the difficulties that come with that and the win that’s going to come as a result of your dogged determination. The last couple of years have been, or at least seem to be have been, an upward curve. How has that period been and what are some of the projects and events you have been a part of, as well as those you have created yourself? S: I’ve been involved in some significant projects over the past five years. Singing and hosting Naughty Boy’s live shows with all his guest artists – Emeli Sandé, Sam Smith, Gabrielle, Ella Eyre, Krept & Konan, Yungen, A.Staxx and J Spades, to name a few. My vocal group “Singing Soul Sirens” and myself featuring on Ghetts’ album Ghetto Gospel: The New Testament was a highlight, as well as the vocal features on Emeli Sandé’s Long Live the Angels and Wretch 32’s Growing Over Life albums. Plus, being lead vocalist and choirmaster for House Gospel Choir – turning amateur vocalists into professional singers truly worked me and helped develop my skills as a choir director, vocal arranger and overall as an artist tremendously. JC: You’ve done so many things I’m amazed by (big fan, can you tell?), but I loved your contribution to Ghetts’ last album. How did that come about? S: In 2017, it was a tough time and I wasn’t really interested in doing choral group activity, as I had just left HGC. I was feeling a little lost and primarily thought I needed time away from Music and to find ShezAr again. In this time I got a call from my dear friend and musical director ‘Kadz Keys’, who happens to be the brother of Ghetts, asking me to put a

group of vocalists together for a choral piece that’s needed for the album. There was a lot of coercing done to get me and my skills in the booth, but Kadz did it. Hand On The Bible is a tune! Ghetts smashed it with the album and Soul Sirens were officially put on the map cutting our first record. JC: Let’s get into the journey. Loaded question here, but


what inspired you to follow the musical route? S: My family inspire me to do music – I’m coming from a musical background. Mum and dad are both musically talented, the musical genes have legit been passed down from generation to generation. People watching inspires me. The feeling of expressing your authentic self is inspirational – I’ve always used singing as an outlet to express what I may


not say verbally in conversation or dialogue. It’s been my safe space and my wondrous place, so I am always inspired to share my feelings and vulnerabilities in song and have others connect or resonate with the message or story within the song. JC: Your family have some great success stories that many may not be aware of. I know we haven’t got the space, but for the reader


that’s finding out about you today, who have been some of the inspirations? S: Yes, my immediate family alone are a success with the achievements made. My younger brother – Labrinth – has inspired me, with his success and ongoing development of creating timeless music. It amazes me, when me and Lab get back in studio, the music magic is going to be epic. My older brothers are also


MARCH 2020


Celebrating W men

TIME – THIS IS MINE’ what can fans expect to see on the night? S: Being able to share and express in a space such as the Young Vic is just awesome and I am so grateful for this opportunity. The rehearsals for this event has been electrifying – so all in attendance, expect pure heart and soul, vibes and feel-good music that has you freely expressing and bubbling all the way through to the following month.

heavily involved and have achieved a lot in this music industry – Mac 1 aka Rock Boi, MckNasty and Stevie Mac have inspired me as well as contributed to my growth as a music artist. My sisters – Chella Mac, JayBay and Nay Nay, whether it be opening up businesses (Queendom Ent Ltd) together or holding down a solid vocal harmony to sing a good choral piece song, again they’re inspirational. My eldest bro – coach Ed, my mentor, fitness and health guru – has always inspired me. His commitment to train hard, teach, persevere in whatever he applies himself to is just remarkable. Last but not least, my mum, nanny Pam – she’s such a success and inspiration for just raising all nine of us. She’s an actual legend and mighty fine too. JC: In your own discography, what are you most proud of? And if someone was attempting to find out about you, which track/project would you point them towards that best sums up ShezAr? S: If you want to get a true flavour of ShezAr, the feature I did on Ghetts’ Ghetto Gospel: The New Testament album, the song Hand On The Bible sums me up. I have some great house (music) collabs out with Sonny Fodera, Funk Butcher, Rhemi Music and Makin’Moves that also gives you a good sense of my artistry. However, because I don’t just fit into one box/category my original body of work called E.S.D. – Electric Soul Dubs gives you more of my influences, upbringing and diversity. JC: As creative director of Singing Soul Sirens, your own progression and talents

aren’t the only thing you care about, obviously. Can you tell us how the group came to fruition? S: I founded Singing Soul Sirens in 2018, however this was a tested idea that was set out in 2014 when I named it ShezAr’s SAAANGer Squad. I changed it to “Singing Soul Sirens” due to me being described as “the soul siren of the 21st Century” and what that description made me think of is the effect I have on people when I sing, it’s like making a call and the frequencies to the other line rings loud and bold enough, they receive the call. Connecting and resonating through song to one and/or more is my definition of “making the call” and how captivating is that, doing it with more than one vocalist. Being a vocal coach and choirmaster, my desire and passion for choral singing is beyond me. I needed to create a safe space for myself and like-minded vocalists to come together to develop and master their authentic singing voice, without judgement, without that pressure of feeling like you have to outdo the person next to you. Let’s just grow together and create a certain sound. I thought long and hard on the amount and allowed nature to lead me on the selected members of SSS – it all happened organically with the vocalists that are a part of SSS, it was either a long-shot phone-call to an old number and getting through or meeting for the first time and just gelling. Seven is my number. I am the Soul Siren and I have six other Singing Soul Sirens that ”make the call”. The rest is history. JC: This month sees your first live music night at the Young Vic, I can’t wait, it’s a great feather in your cap,

JC: Has your journey frustrated you at times? I ask that because you are clearly as talented, if not more so, than a lot of artists that do this. Why hasn’t that been recognised sooner and on a far more grander scale? S: It’s all about timing and the choices you make. My journey to date has moulded the woman and talent I am today. As frustrating as it can be at times, playing on your mental, physical and emotional health, everything in its time is what I truly believe. #TrustTheProcess has been my motto the past few years and many great things have emerged through that mindset. JC: This is almost a redundant question, rhetorical even, but the struggle is real for the darker-skinned women in this business. Has that affected your progress and how has that impacted on you along the way? S: As a black female in this industry, or in any business for that matter, it’s hard to be accepted or even understood, but

to persevere and not allow for the negatives to hinder or hold you back is even greater and much more rewarding. Has my skin colour affected my progress? Yes in some areas it has, but that hasn’t stopped me, because I believe in me and what I have to share – slowly but surely people have to start taking you seriously and

“There is still a lot of a onedimensional approach to the success of women in the music industry” putting some respect on your name and work rate and your gender and your race. Shhhimples! JC: Has the situation changed for the better? S: I think black females are being rated more and being praised or acknowledged for their successes. However there is still a lot of controversy, a one-dimensional approach towards the success of black women in the industry i.e. based around the ghetto fabulous, twerking, ratchet, sex idol successful black woman. If that’s what you’re about and you love it, own it, do it, live it, be it; but when it comes down to conforming to something that you are not, it grates me. I am

hot, I am curvaceous, I am sexy, I am talented, I am smart, I am a whole lot of woman – I don’t need to be showing my assets off all the time to be respected and acknowledged for my wins. More of the time that is how it’s being presented and perceived to “make it” as a black female in this industry.

JC: In your own words, what does success look like to you? S: Success to me is seeing your progress from the year, the month, the week before and knowing that there has been growth, development, etc. I’ve done a lot within the industry I deem as success. In regards to putting 100 per cent into ShezAr the artist, that commitment hasn’t been 100; because I actually wasn’t ready, I was still learning (still am), still honing in on my craft. I’m ready now, though! JC: If you haven’t touched on it already, who has inspired professionally, who makes you raise your game? S: My inner circle, younger family members that are looking up to you, and artists such as Chaka Khan, Aretha Franklin, James Brown, Prince, Mary J Blige, Lauryn Hill, Missy Elliott, Jill Scott, Pink, Fantasia, Beyoncé and Jay-Z – they all make me raise my game. JC: If you could only be remembered for one thing, what would it be? S: My voice and my (Colgate) smile. JC: The Voice was a brave

decision, it’s all out there, primetime television. Tell the truth, was you shook or was it just another gig? S: I was nervous, yes. I’ve never really done auditions and competitions; so this whole journey is new, challenging and exciting. I’m able to fulfil the purpose of focusing on me and my artistry – no deviating. I’m committing, I’m going through the motions and giving great performances to the best of my ability, to showcase and uphold my experience of performing and entertaining. I’m re-establishing ”ShezAr’s The Name”. JC: Following you on social, it seems like you have really enjoyed the process, you’re always grateful, balanced, what did you want from the experience? S: To be seen, heard, remembered and recognised for the talent I have to share, to conquer my inner fears and change the perspective on talent shows for other musicians and vocalists like me that need to step out of their comfort zone and/or put themselves first. JC: I’m going to assume 2020 is the start of ShezAr putting her head way above the parapet, out ’ere, no fear. Is this the decade where you risk it all, are you going to show the world who you really are? S: Absolutely!!! ShezAr and the Singing Soul Sirens, below, will be performing at the Young Vic on Friday, March 13; Thursday, April 30; and Thursday, July 30.


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MARCH 2020

This is


VER THE past couple of years, the prominence of Jamaican women throughout the music industry has been hugely refreshing. In a genre that has been male-dominated for so many years, having that female touch has allowed the music to breathe, re-energise and shine. Behind the scenes, there has always been a number of high-profile women who have brought some semblance of order to the set-up, but now the stars are out in force in front of the microphones and on the stages too – and they are rightfully getting the accolades they deserve. I can’t go any further without saluting the new Grammy kid – the first female solo artist who did it and the youngest in the history of the awards for the genre. Yep, Koffee (inset) did the damn thing, and her calm and approachable manner and acceptance speech has definitely won her many new fans. 2020 and beyond hold some seriously exciting times for the young star, and we are all here for that! I’ve often spoken about Protoje (below) and his incredible work in showcasing the new talents from Jamaica on a global level.


by Seani B & Talia Paul

Without doubt, he is one of the leading A&R talent scouts we have in our field, and he can turn a vibe into a VIBE! I’ve seen him at close quarters working alongside the likes of Sevana and Lila Ike, and their development over the past 12 months shows that the talent and energy were always there. They just needed the opportunity, and they have definitely grabbed it with both hands. Wait until the three of them tour together – it will be a problem!


Shenseea was happy to talk about her life


However, the focus of this month’s piece is a young lady who is starting to make big, noisy waves in the competitive world of dancehall and hip-hop. She’s already had a handful of number ones and recently signed a worldwide deal with Interscope records. The first single was Blessed, which featured the rapper Tyga. That young lady is Shenseea. We met up at London’s Tracks and Records for an invite-only question-and-answer session which saw her loyal “Shen Yeng” fans doting on her every word. She looked the picture of confidence, kitted out in all pink – even her long, flowing wig.

As we sat down, I wanted to know about the early days, and how she went from promo girl to the princess of dancehall. “I always said to myself I wanted to be the next Rihanna,” she says. “I first stepped into a studio in 2015, just after I had my son. After three months, I went to look for a job. “I was working for a promotional agency, but my friend worked for another agency as a freelancer. “She asked me to come over to the company she was working with, which was Romeich Entertainment [Romeich is Shenseea’s manager]. “I met him, started working together and I loved the family vibe. He treated everybody the same, regardless of their position.” It is quite a leap from being a promo girl to being the star of the show – and she explained her unique pathway.

“When I used to have to feed my son in the middle of the night, I used to find it difficult to

go back to sleep, so I decided to try to start writing songs,” she said. “The first one I wrote was called Perfect Sidechick, and my friend recorded it and put it up on Facebook, and it went viral! “The first song I recorded was Jiggle, and Romeich started to take the tune around for people in the industry to hear. “I was still work-

ing as a promotional girl, and I remember hearing it on the radio for the first time and ZJ

ham on this trip, and her confidence on stage was far different from her first UK visit.


Liquid (the popular Jamaican DJ) pulled it up seven times! I also heard it at dances, places where I was working, but nobody knew it was me.” The success story has moved at a fair pace, and her touring schedule is hectic. She has performed in London and Birming-

“The first time I went on a plane was when I came to the UK. I was so excited and nervous,” she added. “My stage show wasn’t that great as I didn’t have many tracks that people knew, so I had to stretch a few out. “That’s not the case now. I got my confidence from being on stage in the UK, and this place will always be special to me.” She has an incredibly determined spirit, pushed on by the parental responsibility of caring for her child, as well as the bullish fight to be a success in a cut-throat business. However, that is coupled with an instant likeability and charm that will surely push her all the way to the very top. With those attributes, it wouldn’t be a surprise.


Celebrating W men

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Pulling back the veil on the dark side of entertainment

Celebrity manager Cheryl Cobb reveals all in new book BY JOEL CAMPBELL


HERYL COBB, one of the most respected names in the Hollywood Industry, has released a ground-breaking book, Dirty Lil Secrets (That Nobody Wants to Tell You About the Entertainment Industry).

Inspired to share her wealth of experience garnered over the decades she has been moulding the careers of countless artists and entertainers, Cobb’s book is a must-read for anyone looking to break into the world of entertainment. Cobb has provided advice and career management to multiple Grammy Award-winning artists including Toni Braxton, Chanté Moore,

Fantasia, Will Downing, En Vogue, Xscape, Da Brat, Sparkle and many more. She has also provided consultative advice to American Idol winners, such as Chris Daughtry, Carrie Underwood, Fantasia, Tamyra Gray, Ruben Studdard and Jordin Sparks. Talking to Lifestyle, Cobb gave us a little insight into what motivated her to write the book. Lifestyle: You have worked with a plethora of artists, entertainers and high-profile entertainment companies. What are the most important ‘stand-outs’ you learned from your clients over the years, and how have you used those lessons in your own work life? Cheryl Cobb: I have learned

so much about the business of talent after spending decades working with clients, as well as CEOs. I’ve learned that true talent is a rare commodity, but when you encounter someone with the “it” factor who possesses something very special, it has to be cultivated. L: In your book, you include real-life stories, which made me wonder if there is one you left out but wished you had included? CC: I feel so blessed to be always in the midst of a half a dozen “real-life” stories with artists, entertainers and companies who are still writing their career life story. I am fortunate to still be working in the entertainment business that has given me

so much. I’ve learned from each experience in this business that has strengthen me in all areas of my life. What I love about this business is the ability to work with passionate individuals who want to allow their talents to inspire and change the world. L: Let’s change gears here for a minute and add a little fun to our conversation. If you could choose to have any superpower what would it be and why?

PASSIONATE INDIVIDUAL: Cheryl Cobb has written a book spilling the beans on the ‘dirty lil secrets’ she has picked up in the entertainment industry

CC: I wish that I could turn back the hands of time and understood these 10 “Dirty Lil Secrets”. I would have avoided many pitfalls and my attendance at the School of Hard Knocks.

For more, and to pre-order your copy of Dirty Lil Secrets (That Nobody Wants to Tell You About the Entertainment Industry) and get it signed by Cheryl Cobb visit: beyond-story.mykajabi. com/cheryl-cobb-page.

SOME MORE PAGE-TURNERS We take a look at some of the most interesting and intriguing new releases

How To Get Over A Boy Written by Chidera Eggerue In How To Get Over A Boy, best-selling author Chidera Eggerue will show you, once and for all, how to reframe the stale goal of finding a man. She will equip you with tangible and applicable solutions for every part of your dating life, helping you recognise that men hold as much power in our romantic lives as we grant them. In the past, dating books tend to lean more into the territory of ‘how to make him find you hot!’, ‘how to make him jealous!’, ‘how to get him to propose!’. But these howtos are placing men on a pedestal of being ‘the prize’. Men are never the prize. You are. Let The Slumflower show you why.

Conjure Women Written by Afia Atakora The pale-skinned, black-eyed baby is a bad omen. That’s one thing the people on the old plantation are sure of. The other is that Miss Rue — midwife, healer, crafter of curses — will know what to do. But for once, Rue doesn’t know. Times have changed since her mother Miss May Belle held the power to influence the life and death of her fellow slaves. Freedom has come. The master’s Big House lies in ruins. But when sickness sweeps across her community, Rue finds herself the focus of suspicion. Which spells has she conjured to threaten their children? And why is she so wary of the charismatic preacher man who promises to save them all?

Hitting A Straight Lick With A Crooked Stick Written by Zora Neale Hurston Hitting A Straight Lick With A Crooked Stick is an outstanding collection of stories about love and migration, gender and class, racism and sexism that proudly reflect African American folk culture. Brought together for the first time in one volume, they include eight of Hurston’s “lost” Harlem stories, which were found in forgotten periodicals and archives. These stories challenge conceptions of Hurston as an author of rural fiction and include gems that flash with her biting, satiric humour, as well as more serious tales reflective of the cultural currents of Hurston’s world.



This Lovely City Written by Louise Hare The drinks are flowing. The music is playing. But the party can’t last. With the Blitz over and London reeling from war, jazz musician Lawrie Matthews has answered England’s call for help. Fresh off the Empire Windrush, he’s taken a tiny room in south London lodgings, and has fallen in love with the girl next door. Touring Soho’s music halls by night, pacing the streets as a postman by day, Lawrie has poured his heart into his new home — and it’s alive with possibility. Until one morning, when he makes a terrible discovery. As the local community rallies, fingers of blame are pointed at those who had recently been welcomed with open arms. And, before long, the newest arrivals become the prime suspects in a tragedy which threatens to tear the city apart.



MARCH 2020

Author Danielle Jawando shines a light on bullying, race and mental health in a Manchester community BY DARELL J PHILIP


ORLD BOOK Day, which takes place on March 5, will see the release of a highly anticipated young adult novel which tackles race, bullying and suicide within the northern community of Wythenshawe in Manchester. And The Stars Were Burning Brightly has been hailed as the “YA book of 2020” by Melvin Burgess and been described as “an outstanding and compassionate debut” by Patrice Lawrence. Award-winning children’s author Alex Wheatle has heaped praise on its author – Danielle Jawando – as “one of the brightest up-and-coming stars of the YA world”. At the centre of the novel is

Nathan – a 15-year-old who discovers that his older brother, Al, has taken his own life and is determined to find out why. Danielle Jawando, 31, was born in Manchester to parents of African and Irish descent – her father is Irish Nigerian (his grandfather was Brazilian), while her mother is Irish Ghanaian. She first discovered her love for writing as a student at the University of East London, where she studied creative and professional writing, graduating with a BA (Hons) in 2009. She enjoyed her time at UEL so much that she followed this up by pursuing an MA in creative writing a year later. “When I applied to uni, I didn’t know what I wanted to do at all but I just knew that I loved writing and I wanted to go to a university outside of Manchester,” she told Lifestyle.

“At that time, UEL was one of the only universities which offered a creative writing degree so I signed up immediately and found it to be one of my most life-changing experiences.”


After her studies, Jawando went on a writing spree which paved the way for her first novel, including being selected as a finalist for the We Need Diverse Books competition in 2016 and being a storyline writer for Coronation Street in 2015. Last year also saw the release of her Little Guides to Great Lives illustrated children’s book on the life of the award-winning writer and civil rights activist Maya Angelou, whom she lists as an inspiration alongside writer and former children’s laureate Malorie Blackman: “Growing up, Malorie Blackman was

a black woman writing stories which I found interesting. She’s paved the way and her presence let me know that I could make it as a writer too.” Jawando, who is also an associate lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University, encourages readers who have experienced suicide or bullying to speak out and lists at the back of the book a variety of charitable organisations which may help them. “There is still a lot of stigma surrounding mental health, particularly amongst young men,” she said. “With Stars I wanted to a shine a light on this (and the many problems that young people face growing up around social media). With this story, I want readers to know that it’s okay not to be okay, and that there is no shame in seeking help.”


OUTSTANDING: Danielle Jawando and her debut book And The Stars Were Burning Brightly (inset below) have already won praise from top children’s authors

And The Stars Were Burning Brightly by Danielle Jawando and published by Simon & Schuster is released on March 5 in all good bookshops, priced at £7.99.


What’s on & where

Early in his career, Norton-Taylor successfully campaigned against Human Rights Watch official secrecy, gaining Film Festival a reputation inside the The London Human Rights Watch Film Festival Whitehall establishment and the outside world features empowering documentaries and dramas alike for his relentless determination to expose celebrating courageous wrongdoing and people from 14 countries: incompetence. Armenia, Australia, His special targets Bangladesh, Bolivia, China, Guatemala, Germany, Iran, have always been the Macedonia, Mexico, Peru, security and intelligence Romania, the United States agencies and the Ministry of Defence, institutions and Vietnam. that often hide behind the Eleven of the 14 films cloak of national security selected for this 24th to protect themselves from edition are directed by embarrassment and being women. held to account. March 12-20 March 16 Check Venues 7.30pm – 9.30pm Barbican Cinema, 25 Red Lion Square, Curzon Soho and Regent London, Street Cinema WC1R 4RL ff.hrw.org/london 020 7405 1818 £14 or under events@conwayhall.org. uk £7/£5/Free

The CBD Show – Day 1 & 2 Business Access A truly international CBD event, with exhibitors travelling across the world for the very first time to showcase the very best in professional products and services to cater for you; exclusive to the CBD Show. Trade passes include two full days, which are dedicated to industry and trade professionals only. Join head buyers from luxury and major retailers, global e-tailers, national and European wholesalers, distributors, pharmacy stores and e-commerce owners. Policy experts, government officials and councillors will also be networking at the event. May 1-2 Olympia London, Hammersmith Road, London, W14 8UX £32.08

EVENINGS OUT The State of Secrecy: Spies and the Media in Britain Richard Norton-Taylor reveals the secrets of his 40-year career as a journalist covering the world of spies and their masters in Whitehall.

The Temptations 2020 UK Tour Motown legends The Four Tops and The Temptations are returning to the UK in November to perform some of their most popular and award-winning songs such as Ain’t No Woman and My Girl that continue to inspire musicians around the globe. The Tamla Motown label broke down cultural and social barriers and The Four Tops and The Temptations were at the very forefront of that transformative period. Original members Duke Fakir and Otis Williams, of the Four Tops and Temptations, respectively, hold a special place in the hearts of British fans, and they are both delighted to be returning to the UK for the 2020 8-date concert tour in October and DRAMA: Anthony Ofoegbu plays Fidel in Paul Anthony Morris’s play Conundrum November. Kicks off on October 29 blues, soul, R&B and pop. and Entrepreneurship, modern pinball machines, Set against the picturesque at Cardiff Motorpoint Arena the IE Africa Center will classic arcade machines, Multiple venues be hosting the fourth table football, board games backdrop of Cheltenham, ticketline.co.uk ‘The Festival Town’, this edition of its flagship event, and 4D Pong. Various year’s programme once African Solutions, Global Inside sees a complete again delivers a balance of Challenges in London, overhaul with new decor core jazz and mainstream entitled The Role of the covering the course and THEATRE offerings from today’s interior of the space with Diaspora. biggest stars, heritage extended beer offerings March 4 Conundrum African Solutions, Global legends and nextand cocktails. 6pm – 8pm Crying in the Wilderness Challenges: The Role of generation talent, with an Throughout the year, Brunei Gallery Lecture Productions presents the Diaspora impressive spread of UK the trend-setting Plonk Theatre, Conundrum, its debut What is the role and value- SOAS University of will offer golf and 10 game exclusives and special production as associate add of the African diaspora London, commissions in the mix. tokens for £14.50 per company at the Young Vic when it comes to building May 5-10 person, offering hours 10 Thornhaugh St, theatre. the continent’s future? Can Bloomsbury, Cheltenham of fun at an unbeatable Written and directed by Africans in the diaspora cheltenhamfestivals.com/ Paul Anthony Morris, this price. London build unicorns on the jazz/ A golf and games WC1H 0XG heartfelt drama follows continent? Tickets on sale 10am bottomless brunch will also Fidel, played by Anthony Free And how are they from March 4 be available. Ofoegbu (Barber Shop contributing to forging Open Wednesdays to Chronicles), as he embarks Plonk Crazy Golf a new narrative for the YV MUSIC: ShezAr X Sundays upon a transformational (Shoreditch) continent and its peoples? Plonk Shoreditch (below) 5pm – 11pm (Wed, Thu); Singing Soul Sirens journey to review his past In partnership with Kwame Kwei-Armah, 5pm – 12am (Fri); and search for answers has received a complete the SOAS University artistic director of the 12pm – 12am (Sat), about his life. revamp for 2020. of London, the Royal Young Vic, has announced Featuring live music The venue has expanded 12pm – 10pm (Sun) African Society, the these incredible musical 177 Hoxton St, from esteemed jazz artist on its seven-hole course African Foundation for events. Each evening will Byron Wallen, Conundrum and now boasts an all-new Hoxton, Development (AFFORD), see Hackney-born soul London is a dynamic and uplifting nine-hole golf course with and the MIT Legatum siren ShezAr and her N1 6PJ production about the 10ft volcano hole plus Center for Development house band headline and plonkgolf.co.uk tremendous capacity of the host an evening of ripFrom £9 human spirit to overcome roaring soul, R&B, hip-hop adversity. & funk, featuring invited May 9-30 MUSIC special guests and open 7.45pm, with Thursday mic spots. and Saturday matinees at March 13, April 30 and 2.45pm July 30 The Maria Theatre, Doors 8pm Young Vic, The Maria, 66 The Cut, Young Vic, Waterloo, 66 The Cut, London, London, SE1 8LZ SE1 8LZ youngvic.org/whats-on/ Cheltenham Jazz youngvic.org/whats-on/ conundrum Festival 2020 shezar-x-singing-soul£20, unreserved The Cheltenham Jazz sirens Festival returns in May with £10 Just Us Dance Theatre a broad spectrum of world- The Four Tops and presents the Let’s Shine class contemporary jazz, © SARAH HICKSON/CRYING IN THE WILDERNESS PRODUCTIONS






MARCH 2020



Wanted! — from Gazebo Theatre


AS PART of International Women’s Month celebrations in March 2020, Gazebo Theatre will tour the UK with their new show Wanted!. Wanted! marks the culmination of a year of exciting work by Gazebo Theatre which has included a fundraising campaign with a target of £40,000 to enable more young people to access theatre through educational work. Wanted! will tour nationally throughout March and has an all-female creative team exploring the stories of five extraordinary (yet sometimes overlooked) women, including Irena Sendler, who rescued more than 2,500 children from the Warsaw ghetto during the Nazi occupation; Olive Morris, British Black Panther and avid activist for women and squatters’ rights; Phoolan Devi, the fearsome Bandit Queen, and Dr James Barry a woman way ahead of her time. March 4 – Birnam Arts Centre, Dunkeld March 5 – Queens Hall Arts Centre, Hexam March 8 – Carriageworks, Leeds March 9 – Customs House, South Shields March 11 – The Old Town Hall, Hemel Hempstead March 13 – Hazlitt Theatre, Maidstone March 16 – Swindon Arts Centre, Swindon March 17 – The Core Theatre, Solihull March 18 – Courtyard Theatre, Hereford March 19 – Spring Arts and Heritage Centre, Hampshire March 21 – Y Theatre, Leicester March 25 – Castle Theatre, Wellingborough March 26 – Cramphorn Studio, Chelmsford March 27 and 28 – Arena Theatre, Wolverhampton gazebotheatrewanted.co.uk Check venues mentorship programme When choreographer Joseph Toonga cofounded Just Us Dance Theatre with Ricardo Da Silva and Rudeen February

in 2007, a major part of the company’s ethos was to inspire, support and nurture others. In 2013, the company set up the first of two

mentoring programmes, Let’s Shine, to empower young hip-hop performers and provide them with tools and opportunities to develop themselves as artists and individuals. Ten young men aged from 16 to 23 from a range of educational backgrounds have been working with Toonga and De Silva to create a response (left) to Toonga’s 2019 work Born To Manifest, inspired by the first-person accounts of young black men from across London. March 13-15 Various, check venue Forge, The Vaults, Leake Street, London SE1 7NN vaultfestival.com/ whats-on/just-us-dancepresents From £11

Chicken Burger and Chips After a sold-out run of his debut play, 32 Peak Street, during Camden Fringe in 2018, Corey Bovell now brings his edgy and moving one-man play Chicken Burger and Chips to the Brockley Jack Studio Theatre. During the summer holidays of 2009 Corey dreams of nothing but to hang around with his friends while ordering as much Morley’s as possible. Until Jodie comes along and makes Corey realise the changes that are happening within his beloved Lewisham Borough. Making Corey, for the first time, think about what path his future takes. March 10-14 7.30pm Brockley Jack Studio

Theatre, 410 Brockley Road, London, SE4 2DH brockleyjack.co.uk 0333 666 3366 (£1.75 fee for phone bookings only) £16, £13 concessions

believe he has been cursed as a baby in Nigeria and want him to try to break the spell through prayer. Centring witchcraft and magic alongside the clash between West African and Western attitudes to mental health, An unfinished man explores An unfinished man the interplay of structural The Yard Theatre is racism, patriarchy, and delighted to announce capitalism, and tells a vital the premiere of the story of a young black man debut play by Channel in today’s East London. 4 Playwrights’ Scheme April 17 – May 16 Winner and BBC TV Drama 8pm Monday – Saturday Writers’ Programme 2020 (excluding May 8 – 9), 1pm participant Dipo BaruwaMay 2 Etti. The Yard Theatre, An unfinished man Unit 2a Queens Yard, centres around Kayode, London a British-Nigerian man in E9 5EN East London who has been £10, prices increase as unemployed for seven the theatre fills; £5 on the years. door for U25s; 30% off for His wife wants him to local residents with a Yard seek therapy, but his Local Card mother and her pastor


by Rodney Hinds



Car: Kia XCeed 1.4 T-GDi First Edition DCT7 Price range: £20,795 – £29,195



’VE GOT to say that the new Kia XCeed took me by pleasant surprise. It looks a little bit like the manufacturer’s Ceed and Stonic models but it is, in fact, a high-class version of those two staples. Based on the hatchback but 43mm taller and with a striking new design, the XCeed’s body only shares its front doors with the Ceed.


It has a longer, taller bonnet, a new grille, and bumpers with a skid-plate style finish. It’s also fitted with LED headlights as standard and black wheel arches to complement its taller suspension and chunky wheels and tyres. To be fair, it’s a genuine eye-catcher. On the road, the effects of the XCeed’s taller, softer suspension are actually quite positive. Thanks to modifications to the way it works, the chassis soaks up bumps better than the Ceed, resulting in a smooth and relaxing car in which to cover miles. There’s a bit more body lean but it’s less than that of a standard SUV and doesn’t ruin

the driving experience, while the steering feels accurate. The available engines are the 1.0-litre and 1.4-litre T-GDI engines producing 118bhp and 138bhp, respectively. The latter is quick enough but sounds coarse under hard acceleration, and the

“Inside the cockpit you have a high driving position with a great view and plenty of space” optional automatic gearbox is decent. A 1.6-litre CRDI diesel with 114bhp or 134bhp is also available, and it will return just over 50mpg in either power output. I must say that my top of the range First Edition moved like a dream when under acceleration. The cockpit is typical Kia. Inside the all-new Kia XCeed you not only have a sporty high driving position with a

great view of the road ahead, there’s also easy access and plenty of space for all passengers. A set of touch-sensitive controls let you make quick changes to the cabin environment without taking your eyes off the road for longer than necessary. The wide display of the high-definition touchscreen is easy on the eyes and fingers. You can split the screen to use up to three apps – for example, maps, weather and music. Bluetooth multi-connection enables occupants to connect two mobile devices at once, as well as using Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. In terms of practicality, the compact body contains a surprisingly large and versatile boot with a competitive 426 litres of space that can be expanded to 1,378 litres by folding down the rear seats. The rear seats split and fold in 40:20:40 configuration. For even more practicality, the boot floor can be moved up to provide a hidden underfloor storage compartment. This Kia is XCeedingly good, take it from me!

A striking new design that goes away from the Ceed style catches your eye It sounds a bit coarse under hard acceleration @thevoicenewspaper


CAR park prangs cost British motorists a staggering £1.5 billion per year, according to new research. A study revealed 11 per cent of drivers (around 3.74 million) have seriously damaged their car while looking for a space to park over the past 12 months. On average they have been left with a whopping £396 repair bill to fix their mishap. The research by Škoda also revealed that four in 10 of the 2,000 UK motorists polled admitted accidentally hitting another car with their door when they were getting out of theirs.


THE Los Angeles Fire Department is set to become the first fire department in North America to purchase an electric fire engine, above. Developed by the Austrian firm Rosenbauer, the electric emergency truck will have two batteries with a charge capacity of 100 kilowatt-hours, which is two hours of consistent operation – covering 90 per cent of use cases, they say. The department expects to take delivery of the new engine in early 2021 and will likely assign it to Fire Station 82 in Hollywood.


MARCH 2020


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Are you passionate about film and want to work in the film industry, but are struggling to find your way in? FDA will be running an eight month paid traineeship at a UK distributor. We are looking to recruit ambitious trainees from across the UK who can display the following attributes and who are prepared to relocate to London. • A passion for film and a desire to learn • Excellent written and spoken communication skills • Experience of using Microsoft Office packages and email • The ability to work as part of a team

Dates: May 2020 – February 2021 in London Trainees will undertake an office-based placement in a UK distribution company. We want to make the film industry more inclusive. People of colour, people who consider themselves to have a disability and those from economically challenged backgrounds are underrepresented in the commercial sector of the film industry. That’s why we welcome applications from these groups.

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Trainees will work full time (defined as 35 hours per week) for 36 weeks in host companies, and will regularly attend training sessions with the other trainees, which will further enhance their employability skills and knowledge of the film industry. Trainees will be paid a monthly training allowance proportionate to the London Living Wage Trainees will be entitled to 16 days annual leave, subject to agreement with their host organisation.

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Be new entrants to the film industry i.e. not have more than twelve months industry work experience, be it continuous or discontinuous/paid or unpaid.

Be UK residents and eligible to work in the UK. To apply please fill in the online application form at:

http://bit.ly/fdatraineescheme The deadline for applications is end of day on: March 6th 2020 For more information regarding film distribution in the UK please see: www.launchingfilms.com For any queries please contact us at: apply@fda.uk.net

MARCH 2020

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Do you have little or no experience? Our client based in London is seeking sales assistants to assist with acquiring new customers on behalf of their clients. The role but not limited to: Managing brand reputation Presenting in front of small or large groups of individuals Liaising with customers face to face within events campaigns. Benefits: Travel opportunities - National and International Fantastic commission based pay plus great incentives Friendly and fun environments with a great social calendar Access to one on one coaching What`s needed? A passion for sales Great customer service morals Effective communication skills Willingness to assist others around you If you are looking to represent a vibrant company and think you have the basics, then please click the APPLY button. For this opportunity you must be eligible to work in UK (No Tier 4 visa holders). The role is offered on a self employed basis with earnings being commission only based as stated in the benefits, the opportunity this gives sales assistants is a fantastic platform for higher than average earnings based on your own work ethic. Average role earnings are between £300-£600 per week, paid weekly! Graduates are welcome to apply. * Please note, by applying to this advert you acknowledge our privacy policy applies and give consent for SLS Recruitment to share the data you provide with our client so that they may contact you regarding the role or any other role they deem you suitable for. For more information, please see our website before applying.

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MARCH 2020




HE DEEP-ROOTED inequalities that mean people from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds are far less likely to be physically active have been laid bare in a new report. Sport for all – why ethnicity and culture matters in sport and physical activity, which we’ve published today, is the most comprehensive ever picture of how people from BAME communities are taking part in sport and physical activity. The report considers: Overall levels of activity and the significant differences between different ethnic groups. The types of activities undertaken by adults and children from different ethnic backgrounds. The impact of overlaying multiple demographic characteristics upon activity levels.

FITNESS TARGET: Members of the black, Asian and minority ethnic community are not well represented when it comes to gym use, which is something Sport England board member Chris Grant, inset below, wants to see change


The findings are drawn from the survey responses of more than 100,000 people who contributed to the most recent Active Lives Adult and Children surveys. The report shows that people from Asian, black and Chinese backgrounds are far more likely to be physically inactive than those who are white. People from these ethnic groups are also far less likely to volunteer in sport and enjoy the benefits associated with it. Sport England board member Chris Grant said it was vitally important to close the ethnicity gap in sport participation.

“I’m convinced that sport must be a leader, and not a follower,” he said. “That’s why I want to invite and challenge the whole of sport to come with us on this journey, and in doing so to be clear-sighted and honest about the ways in which we’re currently excluding and letting down whole swathes of our

population. When it suits us, we’re happy to talk about the leadership role that sport can play; its capacity to inspire a nation or to transform lives. “No other aspect of national life has so many column inches and broadcast hours devoted to it.


“But there’s an elevated level of discomfort when talking about race and culture in sport and we need to get beyond this if we are genuinely going to do something about the ethnicity gap.” Presently, 62 per cent of adults in England meet the Chief Medical Officer’s guidelines of 150 minutes of physical activity a week. However, just 56 per cent of black people and 55.1 per cent of Asian people (excluding Chinese) reach this figure. The conference also explored some of the actions and pro-

jects that are already in place to bring about change, and Grant highlighted the role data can play in breaking down equality. “One of the key ingredients to achieve necessary change at all levels of sport is how we use data,” he explained.

“The research being published today is a massive step forward in this regard.” Sport England’s director of sport Phil Smith insisted that the whole sports sector will need to work together to solve this problem.

“There’s an elevated level of discomfort when talking about race and culture in sport” “If we don’t invest both vigour and rigour in building a detailed picture of the situation as it currently exists, then we stand little chance of coming up with effective solutions that will improve peoples’ lives. “And even if we were to stumble across some of those solutions, we wouldn’t be able to monitor our progress and put solid proof behind it.

“Sport for all is more than a snappy event title, it’s a sentiment that cuts right to the heart of Sport England’s vision and ambition,” he said. “But we must recognise that as a sector and as a system, there just hasn’t been the concerted joined-up effort to understand and critically address the ethnicity gap in participation.

“We all have a huge opportunity to create innovative new ways of designing sport and physical activity so that many more people can see it as something for them, for people who look like them, for people from their communities.


“We absolutely recognise that there’s a complex, interconnected mixture of issues at play here and it would be wrong and reductive to think that there is one simple answer. “And we also recognise there are many others who hold the expertise needed to create real change and we are committed to learning from those experts.” Sport England would like to hear your views about what needs to gap in sport. email SportForAll2020@ sportengland.org



AJ’S FIGHTING TALK Boxing champ Anthony Joshua opens up about his career in wide-ranging Q&A By Rodney Hinds

WHAT MAKES HIM TICK: Anthony Joshua spoke at a Club Wembley event last month, and was interviewed by Johnny Nelson (both inset below)


WO-TIME unified heavyweight world boxing champion Anthony Joshua appeared at a Club Wembley members event last month. The top boxer was interviewed by former cruiserweight world champion and Sky Sports presenter Johnny Nelson, who provided a wide-ranging Q&A on Joshua’s career... On if he took Ruiz too lightly first time around: “My uncle wrote out a list of heavyweights when I turned pro and Andy Ruiz got listed as the ‘Upset King’. “We thought he was underrated and undervalued but had a lot of skills and could cause an upset. I could tell you a million things but I lost, that is the situation. What I had to do was go away and look at what I needed to change.” On the criticism he encountered after the first fight with Ruiz: “If you take all the praise you can’t expect everyone to be quiet when you don’t perform. Criticism gives you a chance to perfect yourself. “If everyone is telling you you’re great and two people tell you need to improve – I would rather listen to those two people. The critics will always pick out the minor flaws and the finer details, which is good because you need those people to perfect yourself, so I always view criticism positively. “The thing that was baffling me was the boxing legends and the boxing icons that were saying I should retire if I lose again: ‘Joshua hasn’t got the skills to beat Ruiz’ and ‘his manager is crazy for putting him in a rematch straight away’.” On dealing with the failure of losing his titles: “You learn to make the best of a bad situation and you build resilience. Even if I’d failed again in the rematch I’d have understood that that’s how life goes. “At some point along the line you get to reap the rewards.” How admiration for Ruiz gave him the drive to regain his titles: “It was a great time to be a fighter after I lost because no one

could rattle me and no coach could push me beyond my limits. I was in beast mode. “Watching Andy on the other side of the world let me see what it was to be a world champion. When I saw Andy Ruiz being admired I thought ‘I want some of that’. “That gave me the drive to regain my titles – seeing it from the other side what admiration is and appreciation for your craft.” On how the rematch was a mental challenge: “The whole fight was a mental situation. If you want the same result I do the same thing and that’s why I had to change certain aspects. “I just needed to win and I had to do what I had to do to win. In terms of sticking to a game plan, it’s difficult to do it for 12 rounds. When I looked at Ruiz and saw he was three stone heavier than me I thought if he catches me he’s going to knock me out! So this fight was all about skill.”

On fighting Wilder or Fury: “It will be better for me to fight Fury or Wilder now before they took a loss. “In a weird way, losing does something to you and the experience of going through it can bring out the best in you. A fight with the winner will happen for sure.” On fighting at Wembley again

and who he’d like to fight in 2020: “I would 100 per cent love to fight again at Wembley, it’s mad to say I’ve boxed here, it’s a blessing. If it was up to me, in 2020 I’d fight Usyk and the winner of Wilder v Fury.” For more information regarding Club Wembley experiences, please visit clubwembley.com.

Gayle won’t quit cricket anytime soon By Rodney Hinds CHRIS GAYLE has no intention of retiring any time soon. The big-hitting West Indies batsman says he wants to carry on playing until he is 45, and he is available for selection for this year’s Twenty20 World Cup. “I am sure I am getting younger as the days go on,” said the 40-year-old, selfstyled ‘Universe Boss’. “Forty-five is a good number. Let’s target 45. I think that’s a good number.


“A lot of people still want to see Chris Gayle out in the middle. I still have that love for the game and that passion for the game.” West Indies won the last edition of the Twenty20 World Cup in 2016 when they beat England in Kolkata. They will defend their title in Australia in November. “The door is open for a chance. Let’s see what happens,” said Gayle, when asked about selection for the event. “I have left the option open to hear back from them as well and see if they want the Universe Boss.”



PASSION: Batsman Chris Gayle


MARCH 2020



F1 IN A SPIN OVER NEW MERCEDES WHEEL TECH Dual Axis Steering system and second in testing By Joel Campbell


HREE DAYS of testing last month saw Mercedes finish one and two, giving proceedings a familiar feel about them ahead of the 2020 Formula One season. It was Valtteri Bottas who topped the rankings, though, with his teammate Lewis Hamilton finishing a whole second behind him. Both cars completed a healthy amount of laps without issue, further highlighting their reliability. The story, however, didn’t centre on Mercedes’ typically strong showing more than it was about the manufacturer’s mechanical advancements made in the off-season. Sporting a new steering system nicknamed the Dual Axis Steering (DAS), Mercedes have got everyone in a spin about what seems to be the reason they had such an edge over their rivals at such an early point. Loosely speaking, the system seems to change the alignment of the front wheels when the wheel is pulled or pushed. Seen via his on-board computer, Hamilton would pull the

wheel back on the column as he drove down the straight (which had the effect of straightening-out the usual ‘toe-out’ of the wheels) and would then push it back down just before the corner, at which point the wheels would adopt their conventional ‘toe-out’ setting. Experts have concluded that DAS will provide the team a benefit on circuits with long straights as it can alter the toe angle of the front wheels.


Rules coming into play next year mean DAS will only be available for this season but as Mercedes target another drivers’ and constructors’ title their innovative steps may be the defining element that enables them to bring it home. Sharing his observations on the new tech, Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel said: “I could just imagine it feels weird… Imagine you’re used to running and you put on your running shoes and then somebody asks you to run with your flip flops. “You can also do that, but it just feels very different. Obviously it’s not quite that extreme, but it’s just that you add something that’s completely new and feels probably strange and

weird at first. But obviously if it gives you an advantage, gives you an edge and you can fulfil the task, you have the capacity to do it, and with enough practice, then why not? “For sure, if it’s faster, there’s no concern, you go for the faster option.” Allaying any fears over safety, FIA race director Michael Masi said his job was to ensure new developments comply: “From the FIA perspective, safety is the number one element. If there are any questions about safety rest assured that’s the highest priority from our side.”

ADVANCEMENTS: Lewis Hamilton, inset, came second to teammate Valterri Bottas after three days of testing, but both benefited from Mercedes’ new DAS in their cars

Perri Shakes-Drayton hangs up spikes By Joel Campbell BRITISH TRACK and field lost an enigmatic star amongst its ranks last month following the decision by Perri Shakes-Drayton to hang up her spikes and call time on her running career. The 31-year-old hasn’t had the smoothest of times with injury over the last couple of years and, with a heavy heart, the east London-born athlete explained her decision on social media. “It’s the end of a chapter, 20 years since I was first introduced to athletics as a little girl, 16 years as a profes-

sional athlete,” she said. “I’ve decided to call it a day and hang up my spikes. “Athletics has given me many opportunities, including travelling the world and meeting many people. “It’s been my life for 20 years but I’m ready to move on and look forward to my future ahead.” Shakes-Drayton’s last race was a 400m at the British Championships last August. Paying tribute to those who had been a part of shaping her career, she enthused: “Big thank you to those who have supported me – fans, friends, sponsors and family. Coach

A HEAVY HEART: Perri Shakes-Drayton

Chris Zah for believing in me and making dreams of mine realities. “I’ve learnt a lot on my journey through the highs and lows, a big reason for the woman I am today.”

Brook plotting Spence rematch after victory By Joel Campbell KELL BROOK’S victory over Mark DeLuca last month was probably the final time the Sheffield-born fighter will perform in his hometown. In a near-8,000 sell-out at the Sheffield Arena, the fighter, 33, took his American opponent apart as he registered a seventh-round win in his first bout for 14 months. Having rediscovered his love affair for boxing, ‘The Special One’ (inset) is harbouring a title shot in order to bring his career to a close positively. Brook hasn’t looked the same since he was beaten by Errol Spence in his own backyard three years ago, losing the IBF title in the process. The loss and his renewed interest in boxing has seen Brook target the very man who ripped the belt from him. Talking to the SiriusXM’s The AK And Barak Show, he said: “I would love to have the Errol Spence fight rematch because I know and the

people around me know what happened. “We know from the Golovkin fight and the training camp for the Spence fight. I think this version of Kell Brook would beat Errol Spence. I would love that rematch.”


Spence isn’t the only American Brook would like to get his hands on. He said: “Terence Crawford ... [is] the man there in the division, but we also can’t rule out super welterweight so [WBC champion, Jermell] Charlo or this other guy who won the world title.” Brook didn’t name the man, but likely meant Jeison Rosario or possibly Patrick Teixeira. “We should put a poll together on your show. Who should I be fighting next? I just want to be in those big fights. There’s a lot of talk about politics in this game. But welterweight or super welterweight, I am here. “I’m not hiding away from any fighter and I can show you guys why I am the man.”



FUNDING FOR PARALYMPIC HOPEFULS AHEAD OF GAMES Athletes rewarded for exceptional performances ahead of contest in Japan this year By Karen Palmer


RITISH ATHLETICS has announced that 46 athletes have been offered membership to the Paralympic World Class Programme (WCP) in 2020.

Some 20 world medallists from the 2019 edition of the World Para Athletics Championships are included on the programme. World medallists Harri Jenkins, Derek Rae, Vanessa Wallace and Thomas Young have been promoted to the ‘Podium’ level of funding from ‘Podium Potential’ after exceptional performances during 2019. Wallace and Jenkins followed European gold in 2018 with a world medal in 2019. Wallace sealed bronze in the F34 shotput, throwing a personal best of 7.66 metres in the process. Para Athletics head coach at British Athletics Paula Dunn said: “As we are well into Paralympic year, it is great to announce the 2020 World Class

Programme cohort following the World Championships last year. “Several athletes stepped up last season and have moved up to Podium level, which has been thoroughly deserved, while I’m delighted to welcome five athletes to the WCP at Podium Potential level. “My thanks as ever go to the coaches, families and friends who are all part of the crucial support network for the athletes. “Without them, it would not be possible.


“I would also like to extend my thanks to UK Sport and the National Lottery for funding and supporting our world-class programme; their support is incredibly important.” The British Athletics WCP is UK Sport’s National Lottery-funded initiative to support the delivery of success at the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Membership onto the WCP for 2020 is based upon an athlete’s potential to win a medal at Tokyo 2020 or Paris 2024.

ACHIEVERS: Vanessa Wallace is to receive the ‘Podium’ level of funding for her exceptional performance; inset, Paula Dunn

Award ceremony celebrates those who are changing lives through sport By Rodney Hinds

SUPPORT: Lord Coe, Connie Henry and Daley Thompson; inset, Track Academy attendees

SPORTING LEGENDS including Lord Sebastian Coe, Dame Kelly Holmes and Daley Thompson will be amongst the VIPs present at the inaugural Sport Gives Back Awards in March. Held at the Royal Institution in London’s Mayfair on March 5, the awards will pay tribute to the hard-working individuals, groups and organisations across the country who are transforming lives through sport. Other sports stars in attendance on the night will include former footballers Lee Dixon and Dion Dublin, rugby’s Jason Robinson and Olympic hockey champion Crista Cullen. Sport Gives Back is the

brainchild of former international triple jumper Connie Henry, who won a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games in 1998. She said: “Sport changed my life as a teenager. It gave me the stability I didn’t have at home, plus the social mobility I wouldn’t otherwise have had. “When I retired from athletics, I set up Track Academy, a charity which supports young people from disadvantaged backgrounds in Brent, one of the most deprived boroughs in the country. Over the last decade, we have helped hundreds of students to succeed both on and off the track. “I realised that there was no platform where charities and organisations like ours could shout about the amazing work we do



through sport. As a result, I decided to set up Sport Gives Back to celebrate those who use sport for social change.”


At the Sport Gives Back Awards, 10 charities from across the country will present awards to those they feel have truly captured the essence of changing lives through sport. Lord Coe said: “It’s with great pleasure that I support the Sport Gives Back Awards. Track Academy is a remarkable charity and I have been familiar with the work it undertakes for a number of years. “When approached about the initiative to


create an awards ceremony that celebrates the UK individuals and organisations that use sport to change lives, it immediately resonated with me. “I believe passionately that sport is the nation’s greatest social worker. Our opportunity to celebrate the people on the front line is vital.”


MARCH 2020



WINNING WITH WICK Bobby Kasanga learns from his own mistakes to make Hackney a better place

By Rodney Hinds


OBBY KASANGA founded Hackney Wick Football Club in 2015. And Hackney Wick FC are certainly not your regular football club, with their ethos based on community engagement and uniting local diverse groups, as well as battling peer pressure and tackling gang influences. The club engage 160 youths and 70 adults through training, fitness and football matches. There are 16 youth teams, plus sessions for children with additional needs, as well as two adult teams. The East London club offer educational workshops, sporting opportunities, mentoring and access to work opportunities, which actively engage with those already involved in gangs, or those on the brink of gang life, and those who might not be aware of the threats out there (as a safeguarding tool). The Voice of Sport caught up with club founder and the award-winning Bobby Kasanga. Rodney Hinds: How proud are you of what has been

achieved at the club? Bobby Kasanga: I am extremely proud of what we have achieved creating Hackney Wick, not just myself but all the unsung heroes of the club too. It’s just amazing.

INSPIRATION: Bobby Kasanga picks up an award at the Football Black List for his work within the community; inset, Bobby leads a football coaching session at Hackney Wick FC

RH: You were determined to stop young people making some of the mistakes that you made in your early life. How have you gone about that? BK: I always tell young people about my experience. How I went wrong, the mistakes I made and the mistakes my friends make. I show them and tell them stories of how young people are being murdered on our streets. At the same time, I also tell them relevant stories which I hope will inspire them. We run workshops on gangs and peer pressure. We go into schools, prisons and PRUs [Pupil Referral Units] to spread the word, as well as give opportunities. RH: The club is about much more than football. It is more about uniting a diverse group. How successful have you been with that and how has that been achieved?

BK: I always say one of the biggest things I liked about the club was how we united culture. Our men’s team were predominantly young black males from the local estates, while the women’s team was predominantly middle class white women. But through the power of sports these parties were able to unite. We also have young players from across the borough who play for our teams. This means territorial barriers are removed. Last year, we held the 32 Borough Cup. We had 32 teams from all the London boroughs and held a two-day tournament with over 600 youths. This was how we wanted to

unite London from the issues of postcode wars.

ty needs to be put on a higher pedestal.

RH: You were recognised at the Football Black List celebration. How did it feel to achieve that recognition? BK: It was an honour to be recognised at the Black List awards among fellow great people. I was humbled and felt a sense of pride as it again highlights that the work we are doing within our community is not unnoticed. Also, we know how much we need more black role models, so to see the room filled with so many people doing great things, it just shows how the positive side of our communi-

RH: The club looks set to move out of Hackney. How does that impact all that you have done? BK: It will have a massive impact, as financially it means going to a new stadium further away from Hackney, meaning extra costs and mini-bus hire for home and away matches. It could mean losing many of our local talent who won’t be able to travel for every single match. It also means less time volunteering in our area, as we need to put resources into keeping the club afloat, as well

Basketball Africa League thinking big By Milton Boyce THE BASKETBALL Africa League (BAL) has named two-time NBA AllStar and 2012 Olympian Luol Deng as a global ambassador. Following his retirement from an NBA career that spanned 15 years, Deng will help grow the BAL’s profile throughout Africa and around the world, while inspiring African youth through basketball. “I am thrilled to work with Luol in his new role as BAL Global Ambas-

sador,” said BAL president Amadou Gallo Fall. “He has been a great leader and an inspiring role model. “His remarkable basketball journey includes two All-Star selections and participation in the 2012 Olympic Games. “Luol, who played for the Chicago Bulls among others, has been an integral part of our youth development efforts and has taken part in many of our initiatives across the continent since 2011. We look forward to working with him to establish the BAL as

a world-class professional basketball league.” Deng said: “I am honoured to represent the BAL as the league’s global ambassador. “We have a tremendous amount of talent in Africa and I am excited that some of that talent will be showcased through our new league. “I look forward to following the top African club teams when the inaugural season gets under way and supporting the BAL in expanding its footprint around the world.”

as losing sponsorship from local businesses as we won’t be their local team. Furthermore, it means the young people who attend our matches will no longer be able to attend. RH: What are some of your goals and ambitions for Hackney Wick? BK: The biggest goal for Hackney Wick is to get a ground in Hackney which allows for semi-professional football. Also for the club to be financially sustainable when it comes to the football operation.


KEY ROLE: NBA All-Star legend Luol Deng is determined to put African basketball firmly on the map




Meet the young swimmer who’s really...

By Rodney Hinds


WIMMER ALICE Dearing would love to land a medal at this summer’s Olympics – but the youngster has another goal too. Alice is one of Great Britain’s top female marathon swimmers, having represented her country at numerous international competitions, including three World Championships. While she wants to perform at the greatest sporting show on earth, she also wants to actively encourage others to take up the sport, despite some of the stereotypes.

The 22-year-old is only second black woman to compete for Britain in swimming – behind Achieng Ajulu-Bushell, who did so in 2010.


She told BBC Sport in a recent interview: “If I can inspire one little black girl or boy to get into the water and give [swimming] a try, I’ve done myself proud. “It’s kind of sad that I’ve been the only black swimmer on Team GB for about five years. It’s 2020, and I really wish I wasn’t. I’ve always thought that’s just the way that things are, it’s just circumstances.”

Even at the fledgling stage of her career, Alice has been victim to racist abuse – which might be one of the reasons that the black community is reluctant to dip their toes in the water. She admitted: “I’ve had a few issues when a coach called me a silly n*****. It wasn’t a great experience as I was only 17 at the time. It wasn’t said directly to me, it was said to another swimmer. “This is a coach that I’ve never ever spoken to before. “I had a lot of people around me to help me understand what was said. I didn’t really process it the

way that maybe I should have. I tried to laugh it off and let it go. I did tell my coach about it and he said that ‘we really need to do something about this. It’s not OK that you are being spoken about like that’.”


Despite that negative experience, Alice (inset) is desperately keen to encourage others. “The amount of times I’ve said to black people that I swim and they are like, ‘really? I don’t know how to swim’ and then they laugh.

“It seems to be ingrained within the culture that we don‘t swim – it’s not our sport, we do other things. “There’s also the water-phobia side of it which gets passed down from parents to children. Swimming is a life skill, it can literally save your life. That fact seems to be pushed aside and ignored, which is concerning. “Some people have told me that they are too heavy to swim and I try to convince them that they are not, it’s a complete myth. “I want to talk about

my experiences to help people know that it is possible to swim, being a black person, black woman, having Afro hair – it is completely possible. “There’s less and less excuses for us not to be swimming.” And of her Tokyo ambitions, she concludes: “This is the most motivated I’ve ever been. A medal would be incredible.”

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The Voice Newspaper February 2020. Coronavirus: Why Africa isn't ready  

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